Noe Valley Voice May 2010

Police Beat

Stay Alert on Muni

The San Francisco Police Department is urging local residents to raise their safety antenna, particularly when riding Muni.

While on Muni vehicles and at Muni bus stops and platforms, citizens are urged to be vigilant about their surroundings and to note any suspicious activity. While on Muni buses, be wary of persons standing especially close or jostling, which may indicate a possible pickpocket or robbery attempt. While waiting for a bus, try to be at a location where there are other persons waiting with you. If you are the only person waiting, go to another stop where there are others waiting.

Be especially careful when using electronic devices on transit vehicles. Opportunist criminals know that a person talking on a cell phone, listening to an iPod, or texting may be distracted and is thus an easy target. Try to avoid using any electronic device while seated or standing near the rear exit of a transit vehicle, since this door provides a quick exit for grab-and-run suspects.

If it is essential for you to use an electronic device on the street, be aware that you may be a target for theft. Opportunistic criminals, sometimes operating in groups, look for people using these devices and often will approach a victim from behind, knowing that the person talking on a cell phone, texting, or using an iPod may be distracted. Some criminals may be armed. Do not be so preoccupied that you become unaware of your surroundings and fail to notice a person acting suspiciously.

Immediately report any robbery by calling 911.

--San Francisco Police Department Media Relations


The following crime tally covers incidents reported Feb. 11 to March 10, 2010, in Upper Noe Valley--the area roughly bounded by Cesar Chavez, Guerrero, 30th, and Diamond streets. The incidents were culled from newsletters produced by Capt. David Lazar, commander of Ingleside Police Station, and his current replacement, Capt. Louis Cassanego (see below). The log may not include all crimes reported during the period.

March 10, 8:51 a.m., 500 block of 27th, Stolen Auto

March 20, 4 p.m., Dolores & 29th, Hit-and-Run

March 22, 8:04 p.m., 200 block of 30th, Possession of Stolen Property: Officers Hurwitz and Daggett were working in plain clothes and driving an unmarked police car when they observed two men running along Mission Street and nervously looking over their shoulders. The suspects then stopped and began looking at the contents of a backpack. The officers stopped the two men, but one ran to a nearby bus and got away. The other stated that he had "only" shoplifted. The officers found items with a drugstore logo in the backpack. The theft was confirmed by the store manager. The suspect was booked. He had numerous prior theft arrests.

March 23, 10:15 a.m., 100 block of Duncan, Stolen/Recovered Auto

March 27, 7:41 a.m., 1400 block of Guerrero, Vandalism: Officer Soulette was on patrol when he responded to the report of a neighbor dispute. The victim said that he heard banging at his front door and then a crashing sound. When he went to investigate, he saw his neighbor at the door waving her cane. The neighbor then went back into her own house. Officer Soulette was unable to make contact with the suspect at her home.

April 1, 12:43 p.m., 200 block of 30th, Suspicious Occurrence: Officer Martinez responded to a multi-unit residence, where a woman reported that she buzzed in an unknown Hispanic male who had been incessantly ringing the bell. She looked out of her door to see who it was and spoke with the man, who told her he needed to enter her unit to look for mice. She had not been notified by the landlord about a service call and found the suspect suspicious. She told him to leave or she would call police. He did not immediately leave, so she called the police. The suspect was gone upon the officers' arrival. The victim acted appropriately regarding this suspicious occurrence.

April 2, 8:36 a.m., 200 block of 30th, Recovered Vehicle

April 5, 1:30 p.m., 500 block of San Jose Ave., Trespassing: Officer Goldsborough documented the arrest of four men who were trespassing in a vacant house on San Jose Ave. The officer was accompanied by Captain Cassanego, Sergeant Escobar, and numerous other officers. The four men were part of a protest demonstration that culminated with the suspects breaking into the house. The agents of the property owner responded to the scene and signed citizen's arrest forms for the suspects. The suspects were escorted from the premise, then cited and released. Many areas of the house were damaged, and the damage was noted in the police report.

April 8, 7:53 a.m., 300 block of 29th, Burglary/Stolen Vehicle: Officer Najarro was dispatched to the report of a stolen vehicle. The victim said that she returned to her car, which had been parked in a garage, to find that it had been stolen. Also missing from the garage was a bicycle belonging to another tenant of the building.

April 8, 7:53 a.m., 300 block 29th Street, Stolen Auto

April 10, 10 a.m., Valley & Church, Theft from Locked Vehicle: A victim called 311 and reported that his vehicle was forcefully entered by an unknown suspect, who broke a window and pried the car door. The suspect took numerous items of property from the passenger compartment of the vehicle, including a GPS unit and iPod.

April 10, 11:04 p.m., 26th & Sanchez, Unlicensed Driver

April 12, 8:07 a.m. Church & 30th, Pickpocket: Officer Hopkins responded to a report of a robbery. The victim said that she was waiting at a bus stop when she noticed a male staring at her. She turned her head away, and that is when the suspect reached into her pocket and stole her cell phone. The suspect then fled the scene on foot. The suspect was described as a Hispanic male (5'7", 150 pounds, 16 to 18 years old), wearing a black hat with a black jacket and blue pants.

April 12, 11:01 a.m., unit block of 29th, Burglary: Officer Harris was dispatched to the report of a burglary. The victim said that someone had entered the store and stolen the safe from inside. There were no signs of forced entry into the building

April 13, 1:06 p.m., 1500 block of Sanchez, Credit Application Fraud: A married couple told Officer Sanchez that they had been victims of fraud. They had received a bill from a company with whom they had no business. They learned from a company representative that an account had been opened in the husband's name and with the wife's social security number. They also discovered that someone had also attempted to open a credit card with a large chain store using the same information. The credit had been denied. They were advised to contact the credit reporting agencies also.

April 13, 8:30 a.m., 400 block of 28th, Stolen Auto


The Voice was unable to obtain a comprehensive tally of incidents occurring March 11 to April 10 in the part of Noe Valley covered by Mission Police Station. However, Voice staffer Jan Goben, with help from the SFPD's Mirna Melendez, gathered these incidents from newsletters issued by Mission Station Capt. Greg Corrales.

March 14, 3:30 a.m., 200 block of Clipper, Domestic Violence: Officers Smith, Radford, and Long arrested a man accused of choking his boyfriend.

March 19, 8 p.m., unit block of Elizabeth, Auto Burglary: Upon returning to his truck, the victim discovered that an unknown suspect had broken in and stolen his property.

March 29, 5:29 p.m., 24th & Diamond, Theft from Person: The victim was sitting on a bench using his laptop when the suspect grabbed the laptop and ran away.

April 10, 2:20 a.m., 1100 block of Church, Fugitive Apprehended: Officers Masilang and Balingit were conducting an investigation when they encountered a man whom they determined had a felony warrant out for his arrest for violation of parole.


Editor's Note: In mid-March, Capt. Louis Cassanego took over as commanding officer at Ingleside Station, the police jurisdiction that covers the southern half of Noe Valley (and 21 other neighborhoods). Cassanego will guide operations at Ingleside for three to six months while former Ingleside Capt. David Lazar is on loan to the SFPD's crime lab investigation. The email newsletter that Lazar initiated at Ingleside last year has been continued by Cassanego, and you can sign up for the daily reports at In one of Cassanego's recent email messages, he sent this tip to car owners:

Prevent Your Car from Being Stolen

APRIL 9, 2010: After reading numerous reports on stolen and recovered cars, I've found a few common traits:

* Most of the stolen cars are 1990s Hondas, Toyotas, and Nissans.

* The criminals are using a type of "master key."

* The theft takes less than a couple of minutes.

* The method is commonly known throughout the criminal community.

So how do you prevent your car from being targeted for theft?

The cheapest method is to use a steering locking device, commonly seen as a red metal bar. An alarm system can be pricey, but effective. In recent months, Ingleside Station officers have made several stolen-auto and auto-tampering arrests, but the impact has been minimal. Until we are able to arrest every auto thief, prevention is the best alternative.

--Capt. Louis Cassanego, Ingleside Police Station

A Tale of Two Stations

Noe Valley is split between two San Francisco police jurisdictions--Mission Police District and Ingleside Police District--with Cesar Chavez Street as the dividing line. Mission Station covers the northern half of the neighborhood, while Ingleside patrols the southern half. Both districts invite citizens to attend police community meetings, held monthly. Mission Police District holds meetings 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 different locations in the district. This month, the meeting will be held May 18 at Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center, 515 Cortland Avenue.

Police Contacts

Mission Station: 558-5400
Anonymous Tip Line: 552-4558
Capt. Greg Corrales: 558-5455

Ingleside Station: 404-4000
Anonymous Tip Line: 587-8984
Capt. Louis Cassanego: 404-4030

To file a police report, go to any local station or file online at

To report a crime in progress, call 911. Cell phone users can dial Police Dispatch directly: 415-553-8090.