SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Mayor London Breed Wednesday announced new efforts by San Francisco officials to increase public safety and provide support to members of the city’s Asian and Pacific Islander (API) community.
Mayor Breed appeared at Portsmouth Square in Chinatown late Wednesday morning to announce the two programs. Once of the programs will introduce expanded community safety teams that will patrol key neighborhood corridors throughout San Francisco. The second will serve as an extension of a program to accompany seniors to medical and personal appointments.READ MORE: San Leandro Community Rallies for Reform on Anniversary of Steven Taylor's Police Shooting Death
“The businesses in Chinatown suffered and we still have not recovered. In fact, in some ways it feels things have gotten worse,” Breed said Wednesday. “That is why we are all here. We want things to get better.”
Breed went on talk about memories from her childhood in the Western Addition when the Guardian Angels were volunteering to walk the streets to increase safety, emphasizing the importance of the community coming together to take a stand against street violence.
“When this uptick of violence occurred with our elderly Asian community members, the first thing I thought about was the Street Violence Intervention Program. And I asked them — this is outside the scope of their responsibilities — I asked them if they would help patrol neighborhoods like Chinatown,” said Breed. “And without hesitation, they said ‘yes.'”
Breed said the collaborative program will also involve the Community Youth Center and API community organizations to help keep people safe and build cross cultural relationships.
“Because the last thing I want us to do is to let these violent attacks divide our communities. The African-American community in this city stands in solidarity with our API brothers and sisters, and I mean that at my core,” said Breed.
The mayor said that the two groups would be working together to provide members to volunteer for patrol in specific areas of the city.
A press release outlining the programs listed the following areas that would be targeted.READ MORE: Lodi Parachute Center Skydiver Dies After Chute Gets Tangled on Descent
- Leland Avenue in Visitacion Valley
- Grant and Stockton Streets in Chinatown
- Clement Street in the Richmond
- San Bruno Avenue in the Portola
- Larkin, Eddy, Turk, Ellis, Golden Gate Streets in the Tenderloin
“They will be the guardians of the community where we know we have a large population of seniors who come out to walk every day, who come out to do their exercises in the parks, who come out to pick up their groceries and shop and their medications,” explained Breed.
The mayor also issued a warning to those coming from other parts of the Bay Area and looking to victimize the elderly and vulnerable from the API community.
“We will have eyes, ears and boots on the ground in these streets everywhere, so those of you who think that you are going to come to San Francisco and victimize anyone in our communities, you have another thing coming,” Breed said.
The press release on the programs said city officials were working to create the teams as quickly as possible. The teams are expected to be in the neighborhood corridors no later than the beginning of summer. After the initial phase of this program, San Francisco may expand it to additional neighborhoods including those in the Sunset, Outer Mission, and OMI communities.
The second program the mayor discussed will build on the city’s existing senior escort program, which provides individuals to accompany seniors to medical and personal appointments, such as going to the bank, grocery store or doctor’s office.
The program provides seniors with the added security of having a companion when walking around or taking transit. The escort program currently focused in Chinatown, and city officials plan to work with senior service centers and providers in other communities to assess interest in expanding to other areas of the City. Seniors interested in the program should visit the Department of Disability and Aging Services (DAS) Resource Hub website or call at 415-355-6700.
The programs are in addition to other efforts by officials to increase safety on San Francisco’s streets in the wake of rising violent crimes and assaults on elderly Asian victims. The San Francisco Police Department has increased patrols in areas being targeted. On Tuesday, a group of San Francisco firefighters is coordinating their own effort to help curb street violence with volunteer patrols.
“We are going to be there in numbers and in strength and do what we need to do to defend these people,” said retired San Francisco Fire Department Fire Marshall Paul Chin.MORE NEWS: Saratoga Resident Displaced in 2-Alarm House Fire Sunday Morning
“We know the police officers can’t be everywhere. We wish,” said John Choy of the San Francisco Fire Department.