For years, GWPNA has published a quarterly newsletter, The Fogcutter distributed to members and neighbors as a printed publication. In 2011 the GWPNA Steering Committee approved changing it from a paper format to an on-line format. This has reduced annual printing and mailing costs and at the same time, increased the speed of publishing. If you have something of public interest to post for West Portal please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org We can now get important news out to the neighborhood faster.
Many thanks for the efforts of Mike Nerney and Bob Pressley and Supervisor Norman Yee on the several improvements towards making West Portal more safe! At the September and October GWPNA meetings Mike presented the report and showed all the projects completed so far. Here are the links to that report and the pictures.
Traffic and Safety Fall Report
Traffic and Safety Report Slides
Congratulations to Caroline Johnston on her efforts in getting this beautification project going. From September to December of this year, the San Francisco Department of Public Works will stabilize and landscape the Dorchester Way median strip between Ulloa Street and Portola Drive. The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission has set aside $60,000 to fund the construction, installation and maintenance of the beautification project. Caroline is hosting a meeting at her home to gather Community input and participation in the project. The meeting on Monday, August 22, at 7:00 pm will be held at 106 Dorchester Way to discuss the plans, and to provide input into the design and materials.
Thanks to our Traffic and Public Safety (TAPS) Committee and to Supervisor Yee for getting 2 radar signs installed on Ulloa Street. They are near the intersection of Madrone Avenue. At our August GWPNA Meeting, Bob Pressley reported that some cars are slowing down but still vehicles are exceeding 35 mph. TAPS asked Supv. Yee about looking into enforcement for Ulloa and for the 5 way intersection at Vicente - Madrone - Wawona Sts. where there is a 90 foot cross-walk! There has been some discussion with SFMTA Engineers, but a possible solution would cost near $500K. SFMTA will be addressing GWPNA at the September Meeting.
Note: SFMTA meter maids can not under state law ticket moving violations.
By Andrew Segal Several members of CAPS attended the last SFPD Taraval Station's Captain Denise Flaherty Security Meeting at the West Portal Library. Here are some key take-aways:
- Sadly, due to the events in Dallas and elsewhere in our nation, the SFPD is taking extra precautions for officer safety. They have suspended plainclothes operations, cut back on foot patrols, and are working in pairs at a minimum.
- The SFPD is implementing a body camera program and training officers in de-escalation.
- There has been a recent modest decline in auto burglaries but an increase in home burglaries.
By Andrew Segal A group of West Portal residents and leaders met with Mayor Lee and ex-Chief Suhr on Friday May 13 to share our crime concerns and press for more officers for Taraval Station. We discussed our efforts to track local arrests through the court system and learned that our work is making an impression. Mayor Lee committed to improve the reporting system so that we can easily see how local arrests are adjudicated. Our efforts are being heard.
On Thursday May 19, I attended a SAFE meeting with the 16th Avenue and Moraga Steps Neighborhood Watch that included a presentation from Assistant District Attorney Shirin Oloumi, the prosecutor responsible for auto burglary. She described the process and highlighted some of the cases she has successfully prosecuted. The vast majority end with some form of negotiated plea, either between the DA and defense attorney or with the Judge directly. The net takeaway was that the more evidence she has, the better she is able to seek stronger penalties. Video footage provided by neighbors is among the best. If you have a camera, please register it with SFPD by emailing Michael Pheng email@example.com
By Sarita Gardner A neighborhood watch is based on the concept of community. Knowing and caring about your neighbors is crucial in burglary prevention. If you care you are going to be more observant and want to problem-solve. Accurate descriptions and speedy reporting of suspicious activities and people to your neighbors and police is going to be key.
Our first SFSAFE Neighborhood Watch Communication Meeting kicked off Wednesday, April 27th. We had a good turnout of about 13 volunteers for new block captains! We started by some of us sharing our own personal experiences. Richard walked in on his burglar still in the act in broad daylight and came just about face to face with him! He caught the getaway car’s plate numbers and a neighbor actually followed them by vehicle for some distance. We learned that if you find your door broken into, don’t go inside right away! Call the police and they will bring in a canine unit to sniff out any remaining bad guys. Julie’s family was robbed during the night as they were asleep in their beds! The burglars were familiar with the house and came in through the garage door. Home Depot has images captured of someone buying paints using their credit card. We found out through her experience that HD could only release info and data to police. Experiences were shared and lessons were learned.
Our facilitator, Irina Chatsova pointed out anyone can request the services of SFSAFE online at http://sfsafe.org/request-services fill it out, press submit, review, then press confirm.
Sometime end of June we will have our second meeting with our local enforcement and a third meeting will be to learn how to work with our District Attorney representative and how to write to judges in hopes of getting criminals prosecuted. We are off to a good start! Your block captain (if you have one) is tasked with creating a Block Map and Communication Tree, so don't be surprised if a neighbor comes knocking on your door or if you find a home made flier/ invitation, they are just trying to get to know you and help you. Because that is what it really needs to comes down to; knowing and caring about your neighbors and owning your neighborhood!
By Andrew Segal
Tuesday's Crime Summit, organized by Supervisor Norman Yee's Office, included Lt. Ed DelCarlo from SFPD Taraval Station, Marc Massarweh from the SF DA's office, and Irina Chatsova, SFSAFE Program Director and Furlishous Wyatt, SFSAFE Security Services Manager. Key takeaways:
- Lt. DelCarlo noted that there has been a 47% increase in reported vehicle burglaries year-to-date compared with last year. Since SFPD staffing and resources are in part determined by reported crime data, the increase is important and people should ALWAYS file a crime report (they can be done online - http://sanfranciscopolice.org/reports) He further urged people not to leave valuables in their cars and make sure their garage doors are closed and porch lights on during the night.
- Marc Massarweh explained some of the difficulties in prosecuting auto burglaries in particular. In the Q&A, he generally confirmed that the DA's office is pursuing a strategy of "bundling" multiple citations before prosecuting cases given the difficulty in winning convictions. He also cited work the DA and SFPD are doing to go after the fencing operations that provide the markets for auto burglars.
- Irina Chatsova and Furlishous Wyatt provided excellent tips for protecting one's self, property, and community. Among their many suggestions were "owning the street" when walking by making eye contact with people, securing home doors with quality dead bolt locks using three inch strike plate screws, and forming Neighborhood Watch groups. SF SAFE (http://sfsafe.org/) provides free home security assessments and assists in forming Neighborhood Watch groups. More tips can be found here: http://sfsafe.org/downloads.
Typically, SAFE helps facilitate Neighborhood Watch groups block-by-block. Given the scale of our problem, Irina has agreed to meet with a group of prospective Block Captains at a single meeting to simultaneously kick off the block-by-block organizing effort. If you are interested in becoming a Block Captain, please email me and I will be sure you are included.
Neighbors were vigorous in their questioning, with lots of interest in Prop 47 and its impact on property crime and interest in greater police patrols.
GWPNA and its Crime and Safety Committee (CAPS) attended the meeting and updated the group on its three key initiatives: Make West Portal a less attractive target, partner with SFPD, and get the word out. If you would like to help, please email me directly, firstname.lastname@example.org
By Andrew Segal
Several members of CAPS attended Taraval Station’s Police Captain Denise Flaherty’s Security Meeting on Wednesday night at the Ortega Branch Library. It was the first of four community meetings she will hold this year. Some key take aways:
- For our police district, there has been a 47% increase in residential burglaries and a 34% increase in auto break-ins. About half of the residential burglaries were through unlocked doors and garages!
- The DA doesn't want to waste their time on cases the judges will dismiss, so they are setting a high bar for SFPD. Assistant DA Marc Massarweh gave an example of an 18 time offender who was released without bail by a lenient (but unnamed judge). As a result, the DA is asking SFPD for 9 solid counts before charging an auto burglar.
- Taraval Station had lost 8 officers but since the annual crime stats and due to West Portal being identified as a ‘hotspot’ we are receiving 6 replacements today. Staffing in part is determined by the number of calls for service in the precinct. So the Captain has urged the community to always call Dispatch 553-0123 for any suspect activity no matter how small one thinks it may be. The number of calls reported will reflect the need for an increase in police force in our area.
By Andrew Segal
The recently formed Crime and Public Safety committee (CAPS) has coalesced around one goal and three key initiatives.
The goal: Stop property crime now and prevent it from evolving into even more serious and violent activity.
We will achieve our goal by:
Our first task is to work with SFSAFE to organize a Neighborhood Watch program, block-by-block within the greater West Portal neighborhood. Stay tuned for future updates!
- Making the neighborhood unappealing to criminals;
- Maximizing the impact of SFPD, and
- Identifying and implementing initiatives from other neighborhoods (across the nation) that work.
The highlights from our last meeting are listed here, but you can read the full DRAFT minutes if you want all the details here
- Just two weeks after our annual membership letters went out, we're already ahead of last years membership drive. Thanks so much to everyone who helped fold and stuff envelopes on Saturday February 13th. If your name isn't on the meeting sign-in sheet yet it's because we haven't processed your payment - watch for it next month.
- The Traffic and Safety committee provided a detailed update on five (5) different locations and intersections where safety improvements are being made by MTA in response to GWPNA requests. This represents great work by the committee members who are doggedly tracking the various projects and holding MTA accountable for the improvements they have promised.
- The Crime and Public Safety committee has established a cadence for meetings and is working on a list of actions to help reduce crime in the neighborhood. They are engaged with SF Safe and the SF Police Department and plan to sponsor a Neighborhood Watch program in West Portal. Watch for more information soon.
- Supervisor Norman Yee sent his legislative aide Jarlene Choy to report on what's happening across District 7 and at City Hall.
- The Economic Development Committee reported that the owners of the Noe Valley Bakery are interested in exploring opening a location in West Portal.
- Officer Shawn Imhoff gave an update on local crime stats and answered questions. He urged residents that when they call 911 or the non-emergency dispatch 553-0123 for any suspicious person or activity to give a good description (gender, race, clothing, height) and notice what color shoes a perpetrator is wearing as they are unlikely to ditch them while fleeing.
- Also, the SF Police Department declined to issue a permit to operate a pawn shop to the person who was planning on purchasing SF Gold Buyer from the current owners. The police cited a city law that bars one owner from operating more than one pawn shop in the City. The proposed owner's spouse already owns one pawn shop in SF.