Anger over Police Failing Tenderloin

by on January 11, 2018

My January 9 story, “How Police Fail the Tenderloin,” struck a nerve with those living and working in the neighborhood.  Some of the responses were so compelling that they are assembled below as a follow up to the story.  Here is a sample:

drug activity in the neighborhood has gotten considerably worse

As a 10-year Tenderloin resident (who has worked in the neighborhood for almost 18 years), what struck me in reading Randy’s article about our lack of police presence is how little has changed. The neighborhood wants police foot patrols, but the Department won’t provide them.

More than ten years ago — in 2006 — the Board of Supervisors passed legislation mandating police foot patrols. Mayor Gavin Newsom vetoed the ordinance (twice), because he said legislators should not be telling a paramilitary organization what to do. The Supervisors overrode the vetoes, but as the executive branch the Mayor has the actual day-to-day power of handling what city policies get implemented.

Even back then, it wasn’t a new issue. The Tenderloin had been clamoring for more police foot patrols for decades. But it’s clear we can’t trust the police to do that alone, so the Supervisors were just responding to their constituents.

And yes, I feel the drug activity in the neighborhood has gotten considerably worse in the last few years. Reading about how police are diverting resources to protecting upper-middle-class shoppers on Market Street & in Union Square is very distressing. I know that not having to deal with passed-out homeless people on the streets of the Tenderloin is more pleasant for police officers, but that’s why we pay their salaries.

San Francisco’s staggering inequality in 2018 (where the rich get police protection & the poor get ignored to fend for themselves) is starting to feel like those really bad dystopian futuristic sci-fi movies.

— Paul Hogarth, Managing Editor of Beyond Chron (2006-2012)

the situation has gotten worse, not better

I’ve been following your reporting on the drug crime in the Tenderloin.  I’ve lived in the TL for 5 years now and the situation had gotten worse, not better.  I live in a 2nd floor apartment that faces Leavenworth on Turk.    I’ve reported issues that are happening outside my apartment window repeatedly.  I’ve called the non-emergency number and also have used Text-a-Tip.   I’ve even reporting “homeless” encampments through the “See Click Fix” app (3-1-1) that I know are actually drug dealing “distribution” areas.

Last August I reported open drug use, drug dealing, and drug distribution to SF Police Text-a-Tip (847-411) beginning at 1:37 am this morning with photos (I’ve attached them here) and got a text back that my tips were being by-passed because this tip number is used for crime tips for active investigations.   I also called and reported this to the SFPD Non-Emergency number.   Oh, and that white powder on the curb by their feet was their spilled vial of drugs.

Thank you for your continued reporting.  It’s encouraging to know this is getting press coverage.

—Brian Fisher

A veritable drug dealing village

Your poignant article failed to mention Eddy St.  The block between Larkin and Polk has become a veritable drug dealing village, far worse than a few months ago.  The block between Polk and Van Ness now has its own drug gang of about 6 young men.  My car was sideswiped once and vandalized once on that block in the past 2 months.  I no longer park east of Van Ness.  Every month or two a police pickup truck parks in front of the Fried Chicken joint at Polk and Eddy.  One officer can be seen standing alone on the street.  Miraculously the whole area is free of drug dealers at least until the officer and truck leave.  All it takes is one cop! And he’s not even rousting anyone, just standing there.

—Ira Dorter

It’s outta control

Thanks for your article!  I really agree with you on every point.  I’ve been living in the TL since 2004 and have seen it go from bad to worse.  I’m up on O’Farrell and Hyde but my son goes to school on Leavenworth and Golden Gate!  The walk is so treacherous in the morning I’ve deceived it’s better to drive if I can and I do most of the time.  Walking down Leavenworth actually scares me and it takes a lot to do that!  People high, naked, shitting on the street, smoking crack in front of my sons pre-school, dealing, dealing with babies in tow, sleeping on the ground in front of the school not to mention numerous shootings and murders happening over a few dollars. Probably the only place in the world where you can smoke crack on the street and shoot up. Needles and crack pipes in the kids park and I’m chasing out users left and right at O’Farrell and Larkin.  I feel like my only recourse is to move.  I’ve complained so much and nothing has changed.  I put my life at risk daily telling people not to deal or smoke in front of my home or park.  Something has got to give!! It’s outta control and if there’s anything I can do to offer support just let me know.

—Olivia Lizotte

Remarkably, neither the police nor any elected official have offered a strategy or new resources for addressing the Tenderloin’s worsening drug dealing crisis. That those in power feel free to ignore widespread drug dealing in the Tenderloin explains why it continues.

Filed under: Mid-Market / Tenderloin

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