Supervisor Scott Wiener announced on Monday that he would be holding a Castro-area safety meeting, the second such meeting this year, in response to the continuing rash of violence and robberies perpetrated against Castro residents and visitors. The meeting is set for Wednesday, July 31st at 6:30 at the Eureka Valley Recreation Center (100 Collingwood Street). Police Chief Greg Suhr, Castro district station representatives, the DA's office, and community safety organizations like the Castro Community on Patrol and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence will be there as well.
Supervisor Wiener has received a lot of criticism on his Facebook page as of late due to what some consider his inaction in dealing with the continuing crime in our neighborhood. The last meeting back in January served mostly as an informational meeting to show that the SFPD and other community groups were not just sitting idly by as crimes took place, though very little has changed to curb crime in the neighborhood since.
We asked Supervisor Wiener a few questions ahead of the meeting surrounding ideas about reinstating a foot patrol for the neighborhood, setting up a neighborhood walk with the SFPD, and how the Castro Community on Patrol security officers and volunteers have been helping.
With regards to a foot patrol for the neighborhood, Supervisor Wiener said that there are a few cops who do patrol the neighborhood, but not with as much frequency as he and the rest of the community would like. Wiener said this was due to the fact that SFPD officer staffing is at around 1,700, about 300 officers short from its 1,970 officer goal. As he mentioned at the January meeting, he successfully pushed the city into increasing the amount of yearly police academies, but doesn't expect the gap to be filled until 2017/2018 due to the time it takes to run each academy and officers who are also retiring from the force.
When asked about the idea of setting up a neighborhood walk with the SFPD like the Lower Haight did last night to point out problem locations such as those with poor lighting, Supervisor Wiener said that such walks can be useful and that he would be interested in setting one up.
On the topic of the Castro Community on Patrol's efforts to help maintain a safe environment for the Castro, Supervisor Wiener noted that the patrol is suffering from a serious shortage of volunteers. When the group was started in 2006 due to a similar rash of crimes including gay men being raped, the CCOP had about 150 volunteers. Today that number is down to around 30-40. Wiener also noted that starting more Neighborhood Watches would and has helped curb crime.
We encourage all Castro area residents to attend this meeting. We'll be asking more questions surrounding the SFPD's reliance on and success with closed circuit recording in Castro bars and planned changes to Pink Saturday event security.
What do you plan on asking/suggesting or what would you like us to ask/suggest if you can't make it? Make a comment below.