Attendees at a community meeting on Upper Haight crime got a mixed message Tuesday night, as police told those assembled that they should report all crimes they observed, then said that certain crime reports were a drain on the department's resources.
It all went down Monday night, at the John Adams campus of City College. Supervisor London Breed, Assistant District Attorney Asha Jameson, and high-ranking members of the San Francisco Police Department faced an angry crowd, Hoodline reports, eager to know what officials were doing to keep residents and visitors to the Haight safe.
According to Hoodline, community members say that violations like "intravenous drug use, drinking, public urination and harassment" — classified by police as "quality of life issues" are a serious concern in the area, with Cole Valley Improvement Association president Chuck Caneppa saying that “our legal system is just letting people get away with murder." (But not actual murder, one assumes, as that is considered more serious than a quality of life crime.)
Addressing the crowd, Golden Gate Division Commander Ann Mannix says that people who observe any crime, big or small, should report it as “The calls and statistical data drive the resources, so if you don’t call, it’s the appearance of nothing going on,” and staff that might have been devoted to the Haight will be sent to other locations with more crime reports.
But in an chicken and egg sandwich of of a conundrum, it might be those conscientiously copious calls that keep the bigger issues from being addressed. At that same meeting, SFPD Chief Bill Scott told those assembled that it's the quality of life reports that are “the biggest demand on our resources ... It bogs down our system.”
Even worse, "few of these problems are problems are criminal [offenses] that [officers] can do something about” besides write a citation, Scott said.
So, are we supposed to follow Mannix's instructions and call everything in so Park Station remains fully staffed, or are we supposed to stop calling so the system won't be bogged down? The answer is unclear, and even SFPD's fresh and new chief was left scratching his head. “We’re kind of chasing our tail here,"he told community members at Monday's meeting, "and we can’t afford to do that."