We've got some good news on the crime front, for a change: the SFPD will soon be beefing up its police presence in the Lower Haight.
We first got wind of the development on Wednesday, via a tweet from new District Five Supervisor London Breed:
@lowerhaightmna Northern Station will be getting 8 additional police officers with plans to have beat patrols in the Lower Haight.— London Breed (@LondonBreed) January 24, 2013
We followed up with SFPD Northern Station's new Captain, Greg McEachern, who confirms the news.
Captain McEachern tells us via email that eight new officers who are graduating from the SF Police Academy tonight will enter Northern Station's Field Training Program tomorrow. The training should last about four months. McEachern doesn't yet know how many of these eight officers (if any) will eventually be assigned to Northern Station at the end of their training; however, he does expect the Station's staff to increase over the next year, as officers continue to graduate from the Academy and complete their training.
With the new staff, McEachern says he'll be able to reinstate regular foot patrols in the Lower Haight. The neighborhood is his top priority for the new patrols, he tells us, both because of new business activity in the Lower Haight and the recent uptick in crime.
"[M]y priority footbeat to reinstate first is the lower Haight footbeat... because I feel that the lower Haight has seen an increase in activity in the area. In my travels throughout the lower Haight I see new businesses and foot traffic that were not as prevalent a few years ago. As such, I feel a footbeat in the area would give an increased visible presence to the neighborhood that would benefit both the citizens and merchants that live in, and frequent, the lower Haight community...
"I am aware that the lower Haight's foot patrol was suspended when staffing levels fell low in the past few years. With a gradual increase in staffing I anticipate reinstating the lower Haight foot patrol along with other foot patrols in the district that were suspended due to staffing levels."
McEachern doesn't have an exact timetable for when regular foot beats will resume in the Lower Haight, but as his staff increases, he hopes it will be "soon." He assures us he'll keep us updated, and as he does, we'll do the same for you.