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By Erin O'Briant
According to the latest police figures, crime was up by more than 23 percent in May. Police recorded 58 criminal incidents in Noe Valley during the month--11 more than the tally for April (47). However, the May total was just three more than that reported in March (55). And no month this year has surpassed January, which saw 74 Noe Valley incidents tallied by local police.
About half of the May cases (28) fell under the category of larceny--in other words, they involved stolen property. The others were a mix of serious and petty crimes, including 12 cases of vandalism, seven car thefts, three assaults, two street robberies, and one drug bust (for two different drugs). The only bright spot was a decline in burglaries: police recorded five in May, as compared with eight the month before. And in one of the cases, the burglar was caught.
Burglar Nabbed in Yard
According to a news brief from Ingleside Police Captain Paul Chignell, officers under his watch responded quickly to a burglary call from a woman who lives in the 400 block of 28th Street at 2:18 a.m. on Monday, May 21. The woman reported she had heard a crashing sound at her front door and then footsteps in her home. When police arrived, they found the front door forced open. They conducted a search of the premises, locating the burglar hiding in the back yard.
The suspect, who was in possession of burglar tools and was on probation for burglary, was arrested. He allegedly told officers that he had just come from the Tenderloin neighborhood and was hoping to break into a house so that he could buy drugs. Police booked him on charges of burglary, possession of burglar tools, and a probation violation.
Other burglaries during May included a break-in in the 1500 block of Noe Street between Friday, May 11, and Sunday, May 13. In that case, a burglar entered through an unlocked back door and stole a computer, a camera, and some jewelry. Two days later, on Tuesday, May 15, a burglar entered an unlocked residence under construction on the 600 block of 30th Street and stole money from the premises.
Robberies, and the Potential for One
The positive news about the two robberies reported in May was that neither involved deadly weapons. The first was an attempted robbery with bodily force that happened at around 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 10. The other, a strongarm robbery, took place at 22nd and Guerrero streets during the late afternoon of Sunday, May 13.
However, in a separate incident, police caught a 17-year-old youth loitering near the BART station at 24th and Mission streets in the wee hours of Sunday, May 6, and he was carrying a gun.
Under the Influence
An alert pedestrian on 30th Street notified a police officer that a suspect was "casing" vehicles in the 400 block of that street on Monday, May 28, at around 3 p.m. The officer found the suspect on Noe Street, carrying burglary tools, illegal knives, and drugs thought to be heroin and methamphetamine. The suspect, a resident of Bush Street, was arrested on numerous charges.
Several other troubling cases were reported just outside the bounds of Noe Valley. At nearby Dolores Park, officers took a suspect into custody the evening of Saturday, May 5, after watching him inject himself with speed on the Muni platform near Church Street. Then, on Wednesday, May 16, a teacher at a school in the 400 block of Church Street, just north of the neighborhood, noticed that a 12-year-old pupil smelled of marijuana. The school dean inspected the student's backpack and found a stun gun and graffiti marker. The child was sent to a juvenile probation officer.
Around noon on Thursday, May 17, a man created a disturbing scene with injuries at Boogaloo's Restaurant on Valencia Street near 22nd Street. According to police, the suspect began throwing beer bottles at the restaurant's windows, shattering glass over several patrons, who scrambled to get away.
When police officers responded, the man threw a stool and a garbage can at them. One police officer suffered bite marks, and others sustained minor injuries as they wrestled the man to the ground. He was booked in the county jail, where he received psychiatric help.
On the morning of Sunday, May 27, an officer went to check on a person found prone on the grounds of Fairmount Elementary School on the first block of Randall Street. The person, who was homeless, was arrested on an outstanding theft warrant.
Police Posing as Pedestrians
Are you seeing fewer scrawls on local walls and storefronts these days? A decline in tagging could be connected to increased vigilance by Ingleside police. Although there are 10 police stations in San Francisco, officers from Ingleside Police Station, which covers the southern half of Noe Valley (and several other neighborhoods), made a quarter of the 80 graffiti arrests in the city from January through April 15, 2007.
Ingleside officers continued their undercover pedestrian "stings," too. On Thursday, May 10, motorists consistently failed to yield the right of way to an undercover officer posing as a pedestrian at Guerrero and 28th streets. To slow them down, police issued about 20 citations in one hour of sting operations. Then, on the morning of Tuesday, May 29, a group of officers wrote 45 of the same traffic citations in two hours at Dolores and Valley streets. n
How to Contact the SFPD
Noe Valley falls within the jurisdiction of two San Francisco police districts, Mission and Ingleside. Mission police cover the northern half of the neighborhood, including 24th Street, and Ingleside the southern half, starting at Cesar Chavez Street.
Both districts hold monthly meetings that are open to the public. Mission Police District's community meetings are held on the last Tuesday of the month, 6 p.m., at Mission Station, 630 Valencia Street near 17th Street. Ingleside's community meetings take place on the third Tuesday of the month, 7 p.m., at Ingleside Police Station, 1 Sgt. John Young Lane, off the 2000 block of San Jose Avenue.
To speak to an officer at Mission Station, call 558-5400 or e-mail SFPDMissionStation@ci.sf.ca.us. The station's tip line for anonymous reporting of drug or gang activity is 575-4444. To request the Mission e-newsletter, write Capt. John Goldberg at SFPDMissionStation@ci.sf.ca.us.
To contact Ingleside police, call 404-4000 or e-mail SFPDIngleside Station@ci.sf.ca.us. The Ingleside anonymous tip line is 587-8984.
To sign up for Ingleside Station's daily crime e-newsletter, e-mail Ingleside Capt. Paul Chignell at Paul.Chignell@sfgov.org.
For citywide online reporting, go to www.sfgov.org/site/police.
To report a crime in progress, call 911. If it's a non-emergency, call 415-553-0123.