SF Tenderloin Crime Surge Linked To Drop In Police Patrols

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O'Farrell Street in the Tenderloin section of downtown San Francisco (Wikipedia)

O’Farrell Street in the Tenderloin section of downtown San Francisco (Wikipedia)

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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – A dramatic spike in crime on one particular San Francisco block in the Tenderloin corresponds to a recent drop in the number of officers assigned to patrol the entire area, said Randy Shaw of the Tenderloin Housing Clinic.

Shaw decided to look at computer statistics compiled by the San Francisco Police Department after he and other residents took notice of how bad things had become in the first block of Turk Street at the corner of Market and Mason streets.

“We had no idea that violence was 35 times higher here than the rest of the city,” he said at a rally Wednesday to call for more police patrols and better enforcement of liquor store regulations.

Even compared to the rest of the neighborhood, Shaw said the Police Department’s CompStat figures show crime is eight percent higher than in the Tenderloin as a whole.

KCBS’ Bob Melrose Reports:

Shaw connected the spike in crime to a 30 percent reduction in the number of police officers assigned to Tenderloin Station over the last two years.

“We had a 101 police officers in the Tenderloin Police Station in July of 2009 and now we have 74,” he said.

Tenderloin Station, just two blocks away, is one of six stations where recent police academy graduates are assigned for field training during a probationary period that typically lasts four to five months, said San Francisco Police Department spokesman Sgt. Michael Andraychak.

“It was a perfect assignment for those officers to learn the job, but when probation is up, they have to be transferred,” he said.

Andraychak said once they’ve completed their field training, officers are often re-assigned to other police stations throughout the city.

Deanna Sison, one of the owners of the nearby organic soul food restaurant Farmerbrown, said the situation in the area surrounding her business has been steadily deteriorating.

“It’s honestly like an episode of Cops, minus the cops. We tried really hard to protect our customers, to protect our employees, encourage people not to walk down this portion of Turk Street. It’s been an uphill battle,” she said.

Speakers at Wednesday’s rally called for better lighting at night, and more youth activities that would keep young people off the street. They noted the problems on that block could set back the city’s ambitious plans to revive Mid-Market Street District.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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