New Navigation Center’s location near building where woman was attacked

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SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – A San Francisco woman believes she has been attacked again, but this time by the judicial system. 

Paneez Kosarian is seen in surveillance footage being attacked by a homeless man early Sunday morning as she attempted to enter her condominium complex on Beale Street. 

The suspect, identified as 25-year-old Austin Vincent was arrested but just days later, he is back on the street, according to a spokesman for the San Francisco District Attorney’s office.

Ironically, the attack occurred at Watermark Condominium Complex which sits adjacent to the land where the city is building a new homeless Navigation Center.

“I think it was only a matter of time until something like this would happen,” Wallace Lee said.

Wallace Lee chairs the group, Safe Embarcadero for All, which opposes building the navigation center in this location.  

He’s not buying the city’s claims that Navigation Centers don’t lead to an increase in crime.

“Right after they put up this fencing we saw an increase in encampments, car break-ins and open drug use and I think it surprised even those opposed to the navigation center how soon this problem would arrive,” Lee said.

Jeff Cretan, a spokesperson for Mayor London Breed, released this statement in regards to the topic:

The SAFE Navigation Center on the Embarcadero has not opened yet and is still under construction. When it does open it will provide shelter and services for people living on our streets.

In general, we know the data shows there is no link between the creation of a Navigation Center and an increase in crime in the surrounding area. Allowing people to continue to suffer on the street without providing resources will only make the challenges we face more severe.

That is why Mayor Breed is pushing to open 1,000 new shelter beds for people experiencing homelessness and to build more affordable housing across our City.

Additionally, she has been working to strengthen our mental health system, including to expand the City’s conservatorship laws and opening 212 new treatment beds for people suffering from severe mental health and addiction issues.

Supervisor Matt Haney also put out a statement offering his support to the victim:

I am very sorry to hear about this horrific attack on a resident, and my office is here to support the victim in any way that we can. I have been in close touch with the Police Captain and am grateful that SFPD was able to apprehend the perpetrator and hold him accountable.

I am working proactively everyday with SFPD and city agencies to implement effective solutions to protect public safety, dramatically expand mental health and substance use treatment, and implement robust street outreach, community policing, and safety teams in the neighborhood.

I believe strongly that our neighborhoods and residents are safer when we implement effective accountability for crimes and ensure robust services and treatment for those who require it. I fought alongside the community to secure dedicated foot patrols for this area, and I am pushing for those to start sooner rather than later.

The navigation center isn’t slated to open until the end of December, the suspect is due back in court on September 12.

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