As Jose Coronado Playground continues to see improvements in signage, landscaping, and playground equipment, it's still being met with issues regarding the sex workers and pimps who often work in the area.
SF Fix-It, a team dedicated to improving recreation areas and other spaces in San Francisco, held a meeting where residents could voice their concerns over the presence of sex workers near the Mission playground.
According to a report from Mission Local, Police Captain Bill Griffin was in attendance, and admitted that the solution to this particular issue isn't quite so straightfoward. "It’s not quite as easy for us - it’s hit and miss,” he said. “We come out, we do enforcement actions, and the next day we’re right back to where we were before. So that’s a little more complex."
Joyce Ferman, who lives in the neighborhood, suggested, "If we had someone foot patrolling Shotwell street between 22nd and 17th - that’s where all the evil stuff is going on." Griffin replied, commenting on how his roster is already stretched thin. He said, "There are a lot of people who want foot beats. I don’t have a limitless number of officers.” Still, many neighbors persisted in asking for more patrols, possibly even bike patrols. Griffin asked, "What’s the solution? Is it parking cops down here in the middle of night? Is that what I need to do?" To which everyone replied, "Yes."
The SF Fix-It team has been working on improving the residential areas around the city for quite some time now. As the Chron shared back in March, the Fix-It team's director, Sandra Zuniga, reports directly to Mayor Ed Lee. "She will have my authority, as mayor, to coordinate all of the different departments," said Lee during a press conference announcing the establishment of the team.
Mission Local also reported on another meeting they had earlier this year in June, held at the Mission Pool and Playground. Neighbors and people local to the area attended that meeting where they also voiced their concern over feeling powerless in the face of the crime that runs rampant throughout the Mission. "During the day, we have a beautiful neighborhood,” said one attendee. “At night, we don’t have control of our neighborhood."
The Jose Coronado playground stands as a testament to the SF Fix-It team's ability to beautify spaces, but without the help of the SFPD or any other authorities, they're kind of unable to deal with a lot of the crime that still happens in the immediate area.
They do have help beyond the SFPD, though. Specifically, they have the ear of District 9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen, who sent an aide, Carolina Morales, to attend the meeting. Morales shared plans for a "sex work intervention team," as Mission Local puts it, who would roam the area in a van offering outreach to sex workers who might be in the area between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. They also said that the van would specifically search for possible human trafficking victims, especially minors.
Still, that team has yet to materialize, and police still haven't managed to curb the residents' growing worry.