Community

Second Ocean View Safety Meeting Held After Late March Homicide

Will Carruthers / Ingleside-Excelsior Light

By Will Carruthers and Alexander Mullaney

Original community journalism takes money, time and hard work. You can now support the Light on Patreon. Visit www.patreon.com/ielight to sign up.

Two months after a 65-year-old woman was killed in a mid-morning drive-by shooting on the corner of Broad and Plymouth streets in the Ocean View, a second community meeting was held at the Minnie and Lovie Ward Recreation Center to address concerns and announce safety improvements.

More than fifty residents attended the meeting of city agencies organized by the office of District 11 Supervisor Ahsha Safai.

“There have definitely been concerns about on-going violence in the neighborhood,” Safai said at the start of the meeting. “So we made a commitment that we were going to roll up our sleeves and get to work on a number of commitments that we made.”

Originally blamed on a gang-war between Ocean View and Sunnydale, the San Francisco Police Department has not announced any charges in relation to the three murders in the neighborhood in the past eight months.

“The department is working on the case and others that have not yet been solved,” Chief of Police Bill Scott said. “We have not given up. We will not give up. We have some things that we are working,” Scott said.

Assistant Chief Toney Chaplin said that staffing at Taraval Station will be at a historic high. In late July, a deployment bump will give the station 100 officers. A second bump will put the station over 100.

The increased staffing will give Taraval Police Station Capt. Denise Flaherty more flexibility.

Flaherty said that officers patrolling the OMI will now get out of their vehicles and get on foot, especially when school is getting in and out and that monolingual Cantonese and Mandarin speakers now have a tip line at Taraval.

“There is coverage here,” Ingleside Police Station Capt. Joseph McFadden said. “We’re around when you need us. You kind of have double coverage.” He cited an incident in which officers from both stations responded to a shooting at the Ocean Avenue McDonald’s.

Many safety improvements have been made to the corridor in the past month.

A number of city agencies collaborated to install security cameras on a light pole in front of Lacy’s Barber Shop, the city installed an additional overhead light on the corner, and increased the number of police patrols in the area.

The city is in the process of fixing 10 broken lights along the corridor, according to Safai.

Safai announced for Rev. Amos Brown that the San Francisco Symphony had committed to providing cultural and art programs at Ward Recreation Center until it can be transferred to the renovated Powerhouse at Geneva and San Jose avenues.

Safai said he is working with Inner City Youth, OMI Family Resource Center and the Office of Economic and Workforce Development.

“We want a more robust investment in the neighborhood for young people,” Safai said. “We want to build up those organizations. They’re on the ground.”

A list of cleanliness complaints from one of the workshops. Will Carruthers/Ingleside-Excelsior Light

Groups

Residents spent the evening rotating between three rooms: one with SF SAFE, a community crime prevention program; another led by Fix-It Director Sandra Zuniga; and a third led by Taraval Police Station Capt. Denise Flaherty.

“The idea is to continue to get feedback and letting you know that we’re committed to this on an ongoing basis,” Safai said.

During one session, Flaherty warned residents about a growing trend of burglars targeting Chinese homes. Flaherty suggested moving valuables and other things that could entice burglars away from windows.

Nestor, who did not give his last name, lives in Habitat Terrace, an affordable housing development which opened in February, heard about the meeting after he began a neighborhood watch group with his new neighbors.

“This meeting was eye-opening for us. They gave us the tools to empower our community,” Nestor said.

Gwen Brown, who has attended many such meetings, held out tepid hope.

“It’s another start,” Brown said. “Hopefully we make it out of the planning phase this time. The city seems to feel urgency this time. We haven’t seen that before.”

This article originally appeared in the June 2017 print edition.

Original community journalism takes money, time and hard work. You can now support the Light on Patreon. Visit www.patreon.com/ielight to sign up.

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