SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) — Residents in San Francisco’s Inner Sunset District are getting worried about a homeless woman’s increasingly violent attacks.
Simone Haas said she was pushing her 4-year old in a stroller to Golden Gate Park when the woman approached.
“She grabbed me with both hands and just started shaking me,” said Haas. “She said, ‘I’m going to hurt you’ and said ‘why are you being like this?’ And I’m just like, ‘I have no idea what you’re even talking about.'”
John Morales was just walking down the street when he was hit with a board from behind. A quick trip to the hospital later, he is wondering whether more could be done to prevent her attacks from getting worse.
“I have empathy because she’s suffering from mental illness,” said Morales. “Yet the system isn’t treating her.”
Neighbors told CBS 5 there is a long list of random acts of violence. A punch here. A full can of coke thrown there.
Neighbors identify the attacker as a homeless woman with an animal tattoo on her face who has been on the street for years and appears to be getting sicker. Residents say she constantly yells at strangers.
The victims call police quite often. In some cases, the attacker is given a ticket and is right back on the streets.
“While I want to be sympathetic, she is beating people up,” said Haas. “And I think enough is enough.”
CBS 5 caught up with the woman just as she was boarding a bus, but she declined to comment so we left her alone.
The mayor’s homeless policy director, Dariush Kayhan, said the system has huge cracks. Kayhan said tickets are routinely dismissed and the chronic offenders end up offending again instead of being flagged by the courts. In the system’s current configuration, all the city can hope for is that homeless people — even the violent ones — will accept an offer of shelter.
“It’s really frustrating to me,” Kayhan said. “And it’s tragic in my mind to think that that’s going on in the streets and especially when someone’s been offered services day in and day out and they’ve decided to turn us down.”
Kayhan said the Mayor’s office is working with the courts on a new system that would identify the city’s 40 worst offenders and focus efforts to devote homeless outreach and increased punishment, when necessary.
Kayhan hopes the courts will approve the system and put it in place by the end of the year.
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