Noe Valley Voice March 2012

New Mission Captain Covering Old Ground

By Heather World

Capt. Robert Moser, who spent part of his childhood in Noe Valley, took the helm at Mission Station in January.  Photo courtesy San Francisco Police Department

The Noe Valley Voice apologizes to Mission Station Capt. Robert Moser, to writer Heather World, and to our readers for the production error that deleted several inches from the print version of this story in the March 2012 issue. Here is the article in its entirety.  —Editor 

When Capt. Robert Moser took command of Mission Police Station in January, he was already intimately familiar with the western swath of his turf, having walked 24th Street thousands of times while attending elementary school at St. Philip’s in the 1970s.

“That’s a soft spot in my heart for the Noe Valley, because I grew up there,” said Moser, who lived at his grandmother’s house on Jersey and Douglass as a child. “I’m very happy to be back home.”

Moser, 42, took over as part of a routine rotation of precinct captains, replacing Capt. Greg Corrales, who was assigned to the SFPD’s Airport Bureau.

“I really want to build off some of the exceptional work [Capt. Corrales] was doing down here,” said Moser, a 17-year veteran of the force who also has commanded the Southern, Tenderloin, Central, and Bayview police districts.

Moser said his first order of business is to hear from community members in his 2.7-square-mile district, which includes Noe Valley north of Cesar Chavez Street, parts of Potrero Hill, the Castro, and all of the Mission. He is meeting with officers from different shifts, riding or walking with them on their beats, and visiting schools and parks, he said.

“Then we’ll take a look at our resources and see how we can be effective,” he said.

Being effective includes making people aware of common crimes, which for Noe Valley means automobile burglaries.

“Auto burglaries are crimes of opportunity,” he said. “There aren’t too many fishing expeditions.”

Moser recommends keeping anything that could be perceived as valuable out of the car, and using the trunk wisely.

“If you’re going to go to dinner, put the valuables in the trunk before you park because someone could be watching,” he said.

Another common neighborhood crime involves the garages of multi-unit buildings.

“In a lot of those, we’re not seeing force-able entry, so either doors are left open or people are letting people in,” he said.

He advises people to visit the precinct’s website, www.missionstation.orgwhich is loaded with information and tools.

There are pictures of wanted suspects, including videos of their crimes; an online photo catalog of recovered bikes; and another of bikes still at large. You can access crime statistics, safety tips, and regular captain’s reports (which can also be received by email).

There is a link to the department’s forms for filing crime reports online, and for quality-of-life issues, click on Mission Reach, an online form that goes directly to a special coordinator who can take action, Moser said. Additionally, the site ­includes a downloadable page listing services for low-income and homeless people.

This being San Francisco, the captain also maintains a Twitter account (@SFPD_Mission) for those who want real-time crime alerts and safety tips.

Though the department makes use of high-tech tools, the consistent advice from Moser is old-fashioned common sense.

“People should always be aware of their surroundings,” he said. “It’s the easiest way to prevent crime.”


Safety Reminders

The SFPD says there are steps you can take to lesson your chances of being robbed or assaulted on the street:

Always be alert to your surroundings. Be wary of a stranger deliberately approaching you or following you. Have your keys in your hand as you approach your car or home, so there is minimum delay in getting inside.

Remain alert when using electronic devices, such as cell phones, smart phones, or iPods, in public—especially on Muni.

Walk with a family member or friend, especially after dark.

If someone demands your purse or wallet, surrender it. Resisting may result in bodily harm. Report anything stolen to police immediately.

Residents should trust their instincts. Knock on nearby doors or go into a nearby business if you feel watched, followed, or threatened.

Police also advise cell phone users in an emergency to call police at 553-8090 (as well as 911), to be sure the call is routed to SFPD.