A recent homicide, a police shooting and subsequent protests were the subjects that dominated last night’s meeting between Capt. Robert Moser of Mission Station and 18 district residents.
At the past several meetings, the issue of prostitution on Shotwell Street has been addressed, and many residents brought similar concerns this time. With so many officers devoted to violent Mission hot spots, other areas are being patrolled less.
“The pimps come around, and there’s this one group, a small pimp, a medium-sized pimp and a tall big pimp, and they wait around outside of their car,” said one resident who lives near 20th and Capp. “Then they split up and go different ways around midnight or 1 a.m., and later you see their ladies running.”
Moser reported that he has four officers who are assigned only to prostitution trouble, and residents can help this team by writing down license plate numbers and calling the 511 non-emergency number. Recently police were able to tow a car involved in prostitution because a resident had a license plate number, he said.
Crime statistics reported at the meeting included an increase in cell phone snatch-and-run theft over last month’s numbers, a 68 percent drop in vehicle theft and a decrease of 42 percent in the total property theft rate.
Moser begins most monthly meetings with crime statistics, then moves on to reports of trouble in the neighborhood. Tuesday night’s meeting, however, started with reports about the Jesus Solis homicide, the wounding of alleged gang member Oscar Barceñas by a plainclothes investigator and a pair of anti-police demonstrations that followed the Barceñas shooting.
“It’s extremely concerning to see these crimes occurring during the daytime — or happening anytime,” Moser said.
Solis, 20, was shot to death in the middle of the afternoon on Sept. 16 on Treat Avenue near 25th Street.
Moser reported immediate police action in response to the Solis homicide. Soon after the incident, the area was flooded with extra officers on foot from gang and plainclothes police units. As a result of the increase in security and police resources around the 25th Street and Treat Avenue location, at least one firearm was taken off the street and a dangerous wanted individual was arrested, Moser said.
Adrian Landers was arrested and charged with murder in connection with Solis’ death. A second suspect, Dylan Lemalie, surrendered yesterday, police announced this morning.
Moser reported that Barceñas was shot after he brandished a Tec-9 machine pistol as two plainclothes officers assigned to the Mission approached him. Shots were fired by one of the officers, and Barceñas was treated for what Moser described as “non-life threatening injuries” at San Francisco General Hospital.
“This is a gun designed to kill people,” Moser said of the fully loaded semiautomatic pistol Barceñas was carrying. “A Tec-9 is not a personal protection weapon.”
The news that an officer had shot a civilian swept through the Mission and led to demonstrations in front of the police station.
“These protesters were obviously misinformed,” Moser said.
On the second night of protests, 50 to 75 people gathered quickly at Dolores Park and moved down 18th Street. About four businesses were damaged, paint bombs were hurled at the police station and a glass bottle was thrown at a police officer, who was unharmed.
Despite the recent rash of violence in the neighborhood, officers have encountered 24 percent fewer weapons on the street since 2011, Moser said.
The statistic garnered applause from the residents, with one woman exclaiming, “Good job, officers!”
Since the violence began, officers have been in the area in greater numbers, and some residents in the crowd voiced concerns about profiling.
“I just want to say that just because kids are hanging out wearing saggy pants, doesn’t meant they are gang members,” Anabelle Bolanos said. “I see them getting questioned by police all of the time; this is their neighborhood, too.”
Two upcoming forums are scheduled in response to residents’ concerns about the neighborhood. In partnership with Google, police will hold a Bicycle Theft Summit at 345 Spear St., tentatively planned for Oct. 22 at 6 p.m.
A police department forum called Less Lethal Weapons will be held at Downtown High School at 693 Vermont St. on Oct. 30, starting at 6 p.m. The meeting will cover issues around the idea of having police officers carry less lethal forms of firearms on the streets of San Francisco.
The next regular community meeting will be held at Mission police station at 6 p.m. on Oct. 30.