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SF Tenderloin Residents Petition For More Police On Streets

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A San Francisco police officer. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— More than 1,500 San Francisco Tenderloin District residents have signed a petition asking for a larger police presence in the crime-ridden neighborhood and challenging the chief of police to take a tour of the area.

The petition was to be delivered to the San Francisco Police Department on Thursday.

On Turk Street off Market, dazed people stumble into the streets, where the smell of urine is pungent, and the open drug dealing is interspersed among families that reside in the neighborhood.

“The way we look at it, if this were happening to a rich neighborhood, this wouldn’t be tolerated,” said Pratibha Tekkey of the Central City SRO (Single Resident Occupancy) Collaborative.

Brenda Wahsington, a 20- year resident of the neighborhood, said that a visible task force had previously been used to discourage dealing, but that has ended.

“You don’t see no police. They’re selling dope right in front of the police station on Eddy Street and I live on Eddy,” she said.

The department has a police station at Eddy and Jones and recently opened a mid-Market substation in March, which is about four blocks away.

“We want this neighborhood to be safer and we want you to pay attention to it. So the narrative in this city that people in the Tenderloin don’t care; it just doesn’t stand,” said Karin Drucker of the Tenderloin Housing Clinic..

Chief Suhr, who began his career in the Tenderloin, admits staffing is down but said mid-Market foot beats are a priority.

“The officers are going back as we hire them, but I don’t think there’s a district in San Francisco that wouldn’t like to have more police officers,” Suhr said.

Suhr said while police staffing levels citywide are down 12 percent, staffing levels in the Tenderloin are down seven percent.

A six-year hiring plan calls for more than 700 additional officers.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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