Hayes Valley Public Safety Meeting Offers Updates on Adult Probation, Property Crimes

Hayes Valley Public Safety Meeting Offers Updates on Adult Probation, Property Crimes
Photo: Erasmo Martinez/Hoodline
By Erasmo J. Martinez - Published on February 03, 2016.

Each month, Bob Barnwell, the public safety officer for the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association (HVNA), hosts a meeting on various issues of interest to the neighborhood. This month, we stopped by to hear about issues surrounding adult probation in the neighborhood, courtesy of Karen Fletcher, the chief adult probation officer for the City and County of San Francisco.

Fletcher, who spoke at the meeting for the first time since starting the job in March of last year, started by giving attendees a brief summary of the city’s Probation Department. The department has about 4,300 adults on probation, 72 percent of them for felonies.

The department's newest effort is a program for victim restitution, to help offenders pay off any fees associated with their crimes, Fletcher explained. She said a lack of finances sometimes prevents offenders from paying fees to victims.

Because of recent concerns from residents about the proposed Sharper Future clinic for sex offenders, Fletcher outlined some information about sex offenders on probation. They are supervised heavily, with constant check-ins, she said. They engage with a therapist and probation officer; the San Francisco Forensic Institute handles counseling for them. Monitoring devices are also placed on them, to keep track of their movements.

Nonetheless, some in the community remain opposed to the clinic. Before the meeting, area resident Stephanie Leiva passed out fliers providing information about Sharper Future to attendees. She and another parent spoke about their disapproval of the opening, expressing concerns for children’s safety. (For those interested in discussing the issue, the Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association is holding a public meeting with Sharper Future representatives on Monday, February 8th at the Gazebo Room, from 7-9:30 pm.)

Adult probation wasn't the only issue raised at the meeting. Officer Gordon Moore from Northern Station cautioned residents to be aware of the recent increase in auto theft, particularly auto break-ins. He advised residents to be vigilant and to not leave anything inside their cars.

“I feel ashamed, being from this district, that they put a CalTrans sign in the front of Alamo Square saying 'Lock your car,'” said Moore. 

According to the Chronicle, property crimes increased 17 percent for the entire city in 2015, while vehicle break-ins increased 34 percent. SFPD's Northern Station, which includes Hayes Valley, faces some of the highest property crime rates in the city, and auto break-ins are the number-one property crime in the neighborhood.

Barnwell said the community is working to provide more property crime updates from the District Attorney’s office at its April meeting.

Next month's neighborhood public safety meeting will focus on the Northern Station police officers who work specifically with the communities in low-income housing in Western Addition. The meeting will be held on March 7th from 7-8pm at the Korean American Community Center (745 Buchanan St.)