A news item that is in today's Chronicle that impacts our Police Petition. I have highlighted soem of the sections which are pertinent as they address the issues of crim with more money NOT the effective redeployment of police officiers from victimless crimes and non-essentil and non-priority duties. Throw money at the problem to solve the problem once again democrats solutions to the problems.
S.F. to enforce curfew on kids 13 and younger
Mayor hopes new moves will help curb violent crime
- Jaxon Van Derbeken, Chronicle Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
San Francisco police will begin enforcing the city's long-ignored curfew for young teenagers, send authorities to truants' homes and flood high-crime neighborhoods with officers on overtime as part of a $3.7 million package of measures that Mayor Gavin Newsom hopes will turn back a surge of violence in the city.
The package emerged from meetings among mayoral aides, judges, probation officials, prosecutors and police that Newsom convened as the city's homicide rate spiked in recent weeks. Sixty-six people have been slain in San Francisco this year; at that pace, the year's total would about equal last year's 10-year high of 96 homicides.
The plan would make greater use of laws already on the books and provide more money for existing strategies, disappointing some critics of Newsom who had called for a sweeping attack on crime that would include new social programs.
Police will implement some of the measures immediately, while funding for others would have to be approved by the Board of Supervisors in a supplemental ordinance being put forward today.
Newsom said he was trying his "damnedest" to attack problems that drive up violent crime.
''We are going to keep trying new things,'' Newsom said. "To the extent we are going to take criticism for some of the initiatives, so be it.''
At the top of the list is a bulletin, to be issued as soon as today by Police Chief Heather Fong, ordering officers to enforce a 1990 city curfew that prohibits youths 13 and under from being on the street between midnight and 5 a.m. Children who are out on emergencies or can prove they have parental permission are exempt.
Newsom said officers would not jail youths who are picked up on the street but would take them to assessment centers staffed by social workers. Workers would contact the youths' parents, who could pick up the children and would be ordered to appear in court, possibly to pay a fine.
"These guys are a year or two away from going down one path or another," Newsom said of youngsters on the street at night. A curfew "gives the city an opportunity to come in contact with the families,'' he said.
The city's fitful attempts to enforce the curfew in the past have been criticized as being aimed mainly at youths in minority neighborhoods, and Newsom conceded that the law amounted to a "third rail of San Francisco politics." Still, he said, he is determined to see the curfew put into effect.
"Any criticism on this one, I'll happily take," Newsom said. "I'm not a parent, but one thing I certainly know: I don't know any reason an 11-year-old should be out on the streets."
Newsom and Fong said police would also target at-risk teens by having officers who patrol schools team up with juvenile probation officers to identify youths who have committed crimes in the past and are not going to class.
Those police and probation officers would then visit the youths' homes to make sure the teenagers were complying with terms of their probation. Those who were not could be referred to the Juvenile Probation Department for further action, Fong said.
"By graduating from high school, chances are you won't end up incarcerated or dying on the street,'' said Lt. Colleen Fatooh, director of youth services for the Police Department. "If you want to reduce crime, in the long run, you have to have kids back in school and adhering to the conditions of their probation.''
Fatooh said one approach could be to have the youths attend Saturday classes with their parents, a program that she said had been successful in other cities.
Several components of Newsom's plan will require Board of Supervisors approval for funding. They include:
-- A total of $660,000 to pay for the first six weeks of overtime police patrols in high-crime neighborhoods such as the Bayview and Western Addition and nearly $1.8 million for future overtime. The plan calls for officers from the tactical, gang and narcotics units to be deployed for additional hours to the hot-spot areas.
-- Another $500,000 to be divided between the city's adult and juvenile probation departments to track down felons wanted for probation violations and to pay for teams to visit the homes of truant juveniles.
-- About $750,000 for the Sheriff's Department to increase staffing at the new county jail at San Bruno. Two of the jail's eight pods are closed because there aren't enough deputies, forcing more than 100 inmates to sleep on the floor at jails at the Hall of Justice.
The plan also provides for city rewards of $100,000 for tips leading to convictions in 15 unsolved homicides, twice as much as the biggest reward offered now.
Newsom's plan got a lukewarm reception from Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, who has been among those calling loudest for a Marshall Plan against violence as crime in his Western Addition district has increased.
Mirkarimi called the plan triage that would provide some immediate relief. But he said the city needed to commit to longer-range projects such as adding and improving youth centers, providing more job training and placement programs and shoring up police-community relations.
"Part of that . . . can be answered by the sustained implementation of foot and beat patrols,'' Mirkarimi said.
Chris Daly, chairman of the supervisors' budget committee, said Monday he had not heard many of the plan's details but was unimpressed with what he did know.
"What it shows is that in San Francisco, we don't have a plan to deal with the violence,'' said Daly, who sponsored a June ballot measure, Proposition A, that would have required the city to spend $10 million a year on violence prevention, job training, substance abuse and other programs. The initiative was defeated.
"The mayor spent some political capital to oppose Prop. A,'' Daly said. "Now, unfortunately, the mayor seems to be acting on the fly, or from the hip, without a smart, thought-out plan.''
Joe Marshall, a member of the Police Commission who runs the Omega Boys Club on Potrero Hill, said that going after curfew violators and truants amounted to a worthwhile first step.
"I applaud their efforts,'' he said of the mayor's program. But he added, "If you look at the numbers, a lot of the crime involves people over 18. You also have to come up a plan to deal with them.''
Newsom said Monday that crime was the most vexing issue he faces and that he was "going to keep trying to see what will ultimately work."
"Overall, homicide rates are up, and I don't sleep very well at night because of it," he said. "I feel like running outside in the street and saying, 'Shoot me instead of these kids.' "
Chronicle staff writer Heather Knight contributed to this report. E-mail Jaxon Van Derbeken at jvanderbeken@....