‘Something needs to change’: Mayor Breed reveals plan to create ‘a safer San Francisco’

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – San Francisco Mayor London Breed on Tuesday held a press conference to reveal the launch of a series of initiatives to create “a San Francisco.”

The new initiatives include:

  • Executing an emergency intervention plan in the Tenderloin neighborhood
  • Securing emergency police funding to ensure there are available resources to combat major safety problems over the next several months
  • Amending the city’s surveillance ordinance so law enforcement can prevent and interrupt crime in real time – something they’re effectively barred from doing now – to better protect our homes and businesses
  • Disrupting the illegal street sales of stolen goods that have become a clear public safety issue and are contributing to retail theft

The Tenderloin Emergency Plan includes the following priorities, according to Mayor Breed:

  • Preventing violent crime
  • Streamlining emergency medical calls
  • Interrupting open-air drug dealing
  • Interupting open-air substance abuse
  • Establishing a safe passage and accessibility for citizens
  • Expanding housing resources
  • Interrupting illegal vending
  • Improving neighborhood cleanliness

Additionally, Mayor Breed said the city’s police department and sheriff’s office have joined forces to do felony warrant sweeps, which included the arrests of nearly two dozen people with outstanding arrest warrants.

The next phase will roll out later this month, Mayor Breed said, and will focus on the direct intervention of the biggest problems – taking on the most destructive behavior. This will continue for at least the next two months after that, Mayor Breed added.

Social workers, clinicians, community partners, and police officers will all work together to offer wrap-around services at a new temporary linkage site that will connect individuals in crisis to resources like substance use treatment, counseling, and medical care.

Mayor Breed said at the same time, law enforcement will continue targeting drug dealers; city staff will prioritize infrastructure repairs and more targeted and frequent cleaning in the Tenderloin.

The final phase focuses on transitioning to sustained operations, which will include securing long-term funding for ambassador programs, supporting community-led beautification and open space projects, and making environmental changes that promote safety.

It will also include long-term partnerships with community organizations and residents to maintain the improvements made during the initial crisis phases.

“We are committed to the short-term emergency intervention, and then after that, we will not let the Tenderloin slip back to its current conditions. We are doing this for the residents of this neighborhood, and for the entire city.”

Mayor Breed

Additionally, Mayor Breed said the city will need a budget supplemental to help fund San Francisco Police Department overtime through the rest of the fiscal year so they can keep continuing to do the critical work each day.

“Our police have already been working overtime to address these and other serious challenges, including responding to the rash of retail thefts… confiscating more than 23 kilos of fentanyl… expanding patrols through our Tourism Deployment Plan… and focusing on auto burglaries.”

Mayor Breed said the city will also review rules for using cameras to protect neighborhoods and small businesses.

In 2019, the Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance allowing departments like SFPD to use existing surveillance technology, but it also required those departments to seek Board approval before obtaining or using any surveillance technologies, like cameras used by private businesses.

Mayor Breed said while this created transparency, it also created barriers for law enforcement when responding to public safety emergencies.

“To effectively deter crime and prevent crimes in progress, amendments are needed to this legislation, to clarify that peace officers are allowed to access live-feed and in real-time surveillance technologies when necessary to maintain public safety. We are actively working on those amendments, with plans to introduce legislation in January.”

To disrupt illegal vending, Mayor Breed said she is introducing legislation to combat the illegal vending seen on the streets, with the ultimate objective to disincentivize theft for profit. To address this issue, the legislation will include creating an exclusion zone for all street vending activity in existing locations that are highly problematic and regulating the number of street vendor permits issued.

These are not the only actions we are going to be taking to address public safety. And to be clear, public safety also means confronting the underlying systemic problems that plague our society — such as the need for housing, health care, and equity. We will keep working on those issues, too. But we need a safer San Francisco, and we need it now.”

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