Police outnumbered civilians at Tuesday night’s Park Station community meeting, held at First A.M.E. Zion Church on Golden Gate Ave. After Monday’s two-hour town hall about violent crime in the Haight, light attendance was understandable, said Capt. John Sanford, Jr., who manages Park District.
In addition to sharing statistics, police previewed their 4/20 Day plans and discussed details of a standoff with a a barricaded burglar, as well as the arrest of a sexual battery suspect who allegedly targeted female Muni passengers.
Preparations For 4/20 Day Underway
Sanford said his officers will protect public safety outside the city’s first sponsored marijuana smoke-in at Sharon Meadow on April 20. Current plans call for the field to be fenced off, with private security teams verifying that attendees are over 18 and enforcing bans on items like glass paraphernalia and weapons.
“We suspect that the crowd size will pretty much be the same” as last year, said Sanford. “We’re looking at twelve to fifteen thousand — we don’t believe legalization will change anything to any degree.”
Although he wouldn’t say how much of his staff will be assigned to the event, plans will likely bring in “officers from other stations and specialized units,” said Sanford.
Although smoking is illegal in public parks and at all outdoor Recreation and Parks Department events, the police have no plans to enforce that restriction, said Sanford.
“They’re calling it a celebration,” he added, “and our job is just to basically facilitate that” and address public safety issues.
Sanford said he was more concerned with revelers who celebrate outside of Sharon Meadow, as well as those who might become so intoxicated that they become a danger to themselves or others.
Last year, police arrested eight people at 4/20 Day, three on felony charges, and five for misdemeanors.
Sexual Battery Suspect Arrested On Haight St.
Officers were shown photos of the suspect before heading out on patrol. Shortly thereafter, he was apprehended at the intersection of Haight and Cole and taken into custody, said Sanford.
Three women identified the suspect from a photo array, "and in that time, a fourth victim came into Park Station,” said Lt. John Newman.
Hot Prowl Burglar Surrenders After 10-Hour Standoff
Thirty-nine police officers responded to a report of a barricaded burglary suspect on April 7 at a home near Burnett and Corbett. The suspect was arrested after a 10-hour standoff that called thirty-nine officers — including hostage negotiators and tactical teams — to the scene.
According to Newman, the homeowner left their keys in the door, which the suspect used to enter the premises “without being asked in, which is what we call ‘burglary,’” he said. The alleged intruder is “a Haight Street resident with previous arrests on Haight” for burglary and resisting arrest.
Sanford said the incident absorbed “a lot of police resources,” including 13 officers from Park Station, seven tactical officers and three negotiators. He said he needed other city departments like the Department of Health "to step up" and address problems regarding drugs, alcohol and mental health “before they get out of control."
Monthly Crime Statistics
Police responded to 37 burglaries in Park District in March, a 3 percent increase from the month before. As of the end of last month, 109 burglaries have been reported in the district in 2017, compared to 137 this time last year.
Six robberies were reported in the district in March, a 54 percent decrease from 13 in February. So far, 22 robberies have been reported this year in Park District, a five percent increase from 2016.
Twenty-seven aggravated assaults were investigated this year in the district, compared to 21 by this time in 2016, a 29 percent jump. Assault reports inched up from month to month, with seven reports in February and eight in March. As has been the trend, a majority of violent crimes were perpetrated in NoPa and Western Addition.
Stolen car reports surged in March: 30 vehicles were reported stolen, compared to 17 in February. In 2017, there have been 72 hot car calls, compared to 83 by March 2016.
The number of thefts from vehicles also continues to rise – 142 car break-ins were reported in March, compared to 126 the month before. As of March 31, 424 vehicle thefts were reported, compared to 409 in the first three months of 2016.
Park District includes Upper and Lower Haight, part of Inner Sunset, Cole Valley, Twin Peaks, Alamo Square, Duboce Triangle, the eastern end of Golden Gate Park, NoPa, part of Western Addition and neighborhoods around the University of San Francisco.
The next Park District meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 9 at 6pm in the station's community room at 1899 Waller St.