Mayor Lee & Supervisor Wiener Call for November 2016 Ballot Measure to Increase Neighborhood Safety
Safe Neighborhoods Ordinance to Create Neighborhood Crime Unit in Police Department
San Francisco, CA—Mayor Edwin M. Lee and Supervisor Scott Wiener today submitted the Safe Neighborhoods Ordinance for the November 2016 ballot to require the creation of the Neighborhood Crime Unit within the San Francisco Police Department, a dedicated team to proactively police and quickly respond to areas of the City in which neighborhood crime is prevalent.
With a dedicated minimum staffing requirement, the Neighborhood Crime Unit proactively tracks and comprehensively investigates neighborhood crime such as home burglaries, automobile break-ins and automobile thefts, and enforces laws to deter neighborhood crimes. By creating one consolidated Unit with dedicated staffing, SFPD will be better able to respond to 311 and 911 calls, and track those crimes and criminals that move from block to block and neighborhood to neighborhood.
Supervisor Wiener, joined by Supervisors Malia Cohen, Mark Farrell, and Katy Tang, are placing the measure directly onto the November ballot.
“We want residents to feel safe in their homes and their neighborhoods, and honing in on the very crimes that threaten this safety is the responsibility of this unit,” said Mayor Lee. “I am confident that working together with Supervisor Scott Wiener and the entire Board of Supervisors that through a new Neighborhood Crime Unit in the police department, we can tackle and stop neighborhood crime and improve the quality of life for residents in our City.”
“Our residents deserve safe neighborhoods, not the auto break-ins, burglaries, vandalism, bike chop shops, and other crimes that they experience every day,” said Supervisor Wiener. “We need police officers out on our streets walking beats and working proactively with the community to address our crime problems. The Safe Neighborhoods initiative will help us to improve quality of life in our neighborhoods and create stronger and safer communities.”
“The formulation of a Neighborhood Crime Unit will allow the Department to build upon the work already being done by the members of units such as the Patrol Bureau Task Force whose primary assignment is combatting auto burglaries and street crime,” said Acting Chief of Police Toney Chaplin. “By increasing staffing levels, assigning more officers to foot beats, working with analysts from the Department's Crime Analysis Unit, and improving communication through the sharing crime data, we will more effectively respond to 311 and 911 calls and proactively police areas of the City where neighborhood crime is prevalent.”
As a result of Mayor Lee’s accelerated police hiring plan that includes recent and immediately upcoming police academy classes in fiscal year 2016-2017, the City is on track to meet the Charter-mandated minimum staffing level of not less than 1,971 full duty sworn officers by the end of 2017. This increase in law enforcement presence is expected to help deter some of this neighborhood crime, as well as lead to more and faster investigations and prosecutions.
The SFPD Neighborhood Crime Unit shall be responsible for proactive and comprehensive deterrence and investigation of crime and quality of life violations throughout the various neighborhoods within the City through the use of neighborhood foot patrols, among other tactics. Officers will assist with responding to 911 and 311 calls for service related to neighborhood crime. The Neighborhood Crime Unit will have a minimum staffing requirement of no less than 3% of sworn personnel be assigned to this new unit.
Officers assigned to the Neighborhood Crime Unit will curtail and investigate neighborhood crimes whose nature, frequency, or pervasiveness impairs the sense of security and quality of life of those who live or work in affected neighborhoods. Such crimes include but are not limited to California Penal Code Sections 211 (Robbery), 459 (Auto Burglary and Residential/Commercial Burglary), 484, 487, and 488 (Theft of Property, including bicycle thefts), 594 (Vandalism), and aggressive/harassing behavior such as Police Code Section 122 (Aggressive Pursuit). In addition to their policing responsibilities, officers shall also coordinate with the Department of Public Health, Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, Human Services Agency, and other departments to address violations of law relating to unlawful street behavior, including but not limited to violations of Police Code Sections 22 (Obstructing the Sidewalk), 120-2 (Aggressive Solicitation/Panhandling), and 168 (Promotion of Civil Sidewalks), with a focus on transitioning people off the streets and into shelter, housing, and critical health services.
The Unit shall actively coordinate with police district captains, the 311 program, and the Department of Emergency Management to respond to reports from witnesses or victims of actual or suspected crime, including calls for help or service through 311, in the most prompt and comprehensive manner possible, including through neighborhood foot patrols. The new Unit will create transparency and accountability with data metrics for neighborhood crime and combatting such crime.