of Park Station has kindly sent us much clearer official maps. We've swapped them in, below.]
We also gleaned a big change from the video, that's not visible in these already-blurry images. As part of the new plan, one police station will cover both sides of a main street on district dividing lines. Up until this point, stations have often split responsibilities up the middle of border streets, complicating coverage efforts on either side.
Here's more from police chief Greg Suhr, as we've transcribed from the video.
“[T]he lines are cleaner on the new maps. There’s not as many, for lack of a better word, nooks and crannies – not as many pocket spots that kinda get lost in the maps. Northern [District] is a good example. Just having it be a straight line shot of Divisadero, which changes to Castro and goes to Market, point A to point B. Everybody knows that that’s pretty much a straight line. [B]oth sides of Divisadero are the responsibility of Northern, just like both sides of Mission Street are the responsibility of Southern and both sides of Larkin Street are the responsibility of Tenderloin."
And for concerned residents on some main streets in Hoodline neighborhoods, here's more detail from Suhr about a single station owning a border street.
"[T]he problem was that the people that live on Larkin Street and on Divisadero and it used to be on Market Street, is that one side of the street would belong to one station, and the other side of the street would belong to the other station, and that just created problems. And so we just thought it was easier to make the division on major boulevards and major streets as straight a shot as possible, and then on those borders, declaring that street as belonging to one station or another.”
The redistricting, in case you're not familiar, is happening for a few reasons
. Most prominently, the department is trying to rebalance its force to account for internal changes. The SFPD command center and its Southern (SoMa-focused) District will be moving south from its hulking Bryant Street location to a gleaming new facility
in the newly-built Mission Bay neighborhood. This physically locates more officers further away from Market and downtown, and also explains why the Southern District is edging south to 16th Street as part of the redistricting. But the plan, led by the SFPD and other city departments in conjunction with the outside consulting firm Public Safety Strategies Group
, was also based on lots of research
accumulated over previous years. It is broadly trying to make sure the city is calibrating correctly for crime rates and demographics in the middle of a hectic era.
The Tenderloin footprint expansion accounts for the new command location, with more officers expected to join it to handle the load. While the neighborhood has been designated an official police district for years, it first came to be as a smaller special task force in 1991, designed to resolve the high crime rates in the area. It has evolved into a formal police district since then, but has still had fewer dedicated officers than other districts.
With the redistricting, Suhr says the Tenderloin Station
will eventually absorb the portion of Southern District officers currently focused on patrolling Market Street, and create room for around 24 new officers as well. But covering more geography is also raising questions.
"Tenderloin officers are adept at coping with homelessness, mental illness, violence, and narcotics—often on foot. That’s where their energies are best spent. The neighborhood has also built a tight relationship with its captain, which has engendered community-oriented policing strategies that will inevitably suffer when the district’s aegis expands to include the very real—but very different—interests of downtown offices and main-stream retail on Market between 3rd and 5th streets. Bottom line: the eastern boundary of the Tenderloin district should end at 5th Street."
Drucker instead advocates for expanding Tenderloin over to Polk and covering Civic Center and the lower part of Polk Gulch. This would encompass more of the same population and history. A few local residents showed up during a public comments portion of the meeting last month, and advocated for similar growth. One related the problem of a Honduran crack-cocaine gang flitting over to Van Ness to avoid Tenderloin enforcement, and asked for the district to reach as far as the western edge of 101.
To recap, the newly-proposed district would extend south of Market to Mission Street, and would expand east to west from South Van Ness to 3rd Street.
The current boundaries
cover a neat triangular area. Larkin's on the west, Market is to the south, and Geary is up top. In addition to the new plan's expansions, Central District would absorb the triangle's northeast corner.
A community meeting on changes to the Tenderloin district will be held on January 28th at 6pm, location TBD.
Park and Northern Redistricting
districts will also undergo some heavy changes. Under the proposed redistricting, Park District will now only extend eastward to Divisadero Street and north to Fulton. This would effectively cut out much of Western Addition from Park Station and reallocating it to Northern Station.
The meeting video we got the above screenshot from didn't include a closer view of Park redistricting, but you can examine the current boundaries
And so, Northern Station
's geographical coverage will now be larger than before, encompassing almost all of the historic Western Addition neighborhoods (depending on who you ask).
The current district boundaries
already cover much of Western Addition, as well as lower Pacific Heights and other neighborhoods up through the Marina.
Northern Station and Park Station will be co-hosting a meeting on February 11th at 6pm in their station's community room, located at 1125 Fillmore Street.
We'll keep you posted on this meeting, as well as the Tenderloin one on January 28.
And we'll leave you with one final thought, from Chief Suhr. During the meeting last month, he was questioned closely by police commission members
about the process through which the new plan was drafted, and what the changes might mean for the many communities based around central San Francisco.
"I want to stress to the public, both here and on television, that this map is very much in pencil," he said during the December meeting. "Now we have a map that everybody that pretty much works these districts [has had input on] and with all the information put in, there can be an explanation.”