A few months back, I was awakened around 4 in the morning and noticed a car entering the parking lot across the street. This lot has had a number of break-ins, so seeing the occupants of that car start peering into the other cars, I called the police. I was told that a patrol car would be dispatched. Several minutes later a car alarm went off, confirming my suspicions about the activities. I called the police back to update them and was told that a unit had already arrived at the scene. I replied that I was looking straight at the scene and there were no police. Just then I noticed a police car coming up the street. Great, a perfect opportunity to catch these thieves in the act and reduce the rash of car break-ins that have been plaguing our neighborhood! The police car just drove right by. 😦 Three cars were broken into, and the culprits got away with it. I have heard similar stories from neighbors, and have encountered more “no-shows” since.
My father was a policeman in San Francisco, and back then, they all had to live in the City. It seemed that they really cared about fighting crime and making the City safe. After all, they lived here too. I’ve heard several police officers say the City is not safe for their families. What about us?
Our police department has been in hot water recently for being too aggressive. At the same time, crime is more prevalent and arrests are way down. This makes no sense.
Perhaps we need a police force that has a vested interest in the community they protect. If (or perhaps when) we have a large earthquake, we will likely be without the vast majority of our first responders. This will make a bad situation much worse. We have a compelling interest having our emergency personnel live here. We need to find ways to make that happen. Perhaps we can give our public safety personnel (and teachers) priority in affordable housing developments.
I would also recommend having police cadets acting as “ambassadors”in our business districts. This would be beneficial in several ways: It would afford a layer of crime prevention by having a visible law enforcement presence, with a direct line for police response. Also,it would free up our sworn officers to enforce the law and arrest criminals, instead of spending their time acting as deterrents. Most importantly, it would generate a relationship between the police recruits and our communities.
The residents and visitors in San Francisco need to be safe and their property protected. Sadly that has not been the case lately. We must turn that around.