By Bob Barnwell
San Francisco Chief of Police, Greg Suhr, spoke before the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association (HVNA) at the general meeting on March 22nd. The Korean American Center was packed to hear the “Top Cop” and Captain Ann Mannix of Northern Police Station while enjoying food from a variety of local restaurants who provided a “Taste of Hayes.”
Chief Suhr, born in San Francisco, is a thirty-one year veteran of the department. He started the meeting by talking about the correlation between a lack of education and crime, citing that high school dropouts are 82% of the people in jail. Seeing the community building activities and youth programs in Hayes Valley and Western Addition is encouraging to the Chief. He wants to see our kids doing well and keeping out of trouble.
Two years ago there was a major drop in crime in San Francisco, especially in the Northern Police District. The crime rate has remained flat despite the 10% reduction in police officers at each station. Knowing the importance a community plays in preventing crime, Suhr not only conveyed his support for community policing, but also gave praise to the housing officer unit in Hayes Valley, which was represented at the meeting, along with members of the Western Addition gang task force. With SFPD losing 90 officers a year due to retirement, the Chief talked about the need for more graduates from the Police Academy.
Captain Mannix and the officers in attendance provided an update on recent crimes in the neighborhood and the types of public safety situations being addressed by the police force. Several members of the community asked questions regarding trash and traffic problems, including the safety of pedestrians crossing thoroughfares like Fell, Oak, and Octavia. The Chief noted that motorcycle police officers and their motorcycles have been distributed to the stations for use in addressing traffic-related issues in their respective districts. Another problem discussed was the health and safety issues regarding trash bin spillage. This difficult and complicated problem directly affects the businesses and beauty of the neighborhood. The police have only a minor role in curbing trash theft. (If you would like to join a task-force addressing underground scavenging of recycling and trash please contact SFSAFE’s Troy at 553-1968 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Captain Mannix took notes and talked to many individuals after the meeting regarding many of the issues the community raised. If you have any additional crime issues to report, please email (SFPDNorthernStation@sfgov.org) or call Northern Police Station (415) 614-3400. In an emergency, always call 911.
We appreciate Chief Suhr coming to our meeting with his enthusiasm and appreciation for the vibrant community that is Hayes Valley. We thank Absinthe Brasserie, Nabila’s, Arlequin Cafe, Suppenküche, Lynne Winslow Events, Two Sisters Bar and Books, Dobbs Ferry, The Boxing Room, La Boulange, Richard Johnson, and Original Hayes and Kebab for providing food and drink for the meeting.