The San Francisco Police Department will nearly quadruple the number of foot patrols operating from Mission Police Station, which covers the Mission and Castro districts, starting Sept. 9, Chief William Scott announced today at a press conference.
The department would not release the number of foot patrols currently operating in the Mission, but did say that right now there are less than 100 full-time foot patrol officers citywide. After Sept. 9 the number of beat cops citywide will “almost double,” he said.
Patrol officers will be present seven days a week, on foot and bicycle, he said.
“Foot beats … enhance our public safety and give us opportunities to engage with the public,” he said. “They [also] are a visible deterrent to crime.”
Scott said district captains will deploy the beat-patrol officers to “known problematic areas” in their respective districts. In the Mission, beat cops have historically patrolled “upper” and “lower” 24th Street, as well as Mission Street between 14th and 23rd streets, according to a 2006 report on community policing by the police department and the mayor’s office.
“Mission has been the district with the largest increase in terms of property crime,” Scott said.
The Mission District has seen a 182 percent increase in car break-ins from 2016, according to data released by the department’s Criminal Analysis Unit. From January to July of 2017, the Mission saw 1,693 break-ins, up from 601 in the same period the previous year.
Scott said the department will be “repurposing” personnel from the department’s investigation units — it will be dissolving its Patrol Bureau Task Force, which is composed of some 19 officers, and reducing the number of officers in narcotics units. Those officers will go back to their patrol units, he said.
“Foot patrols have been very successful in the past,” Scott said, explaining that the number of beat cops has historically ebbed and flowed with the department’s budget and immediate needs.
Scott said he’s received positive feedback from the public and seen a noticeable reduction in crime after placing foot patrols in certain areas of the city, including Dolores Park, which has had a permanent police presence since an Aug. 3 shooting that injured three people in broad daylight.
The Central, Park and Taraval police districts will nearly double their foot patrols, Scott said. And the Ingleside District will see a foot-patrol presence where it hadn’t had one in the “recent past.”
“The bottom line is that you’ll see more officers on foot,” Scott said.