Saturday, October 4, 2008

Patrol in the Mission, 10/04/08

Today was Lovefest in San Francisco, so downtown and Market St. were packed, which delayed our patrol to the Mission by a bit as everyone from the Bay Area seemed to be coming to SF, but the day went smoothly and we collected a record number of used drug needles for disposal along with training a new recruit.

(It was a slow bus ride through all the traffic)

We hit Hunter's Alley first and came across several homeless people hanging out. Even though we've only taken one week off, the alley was full of used needles and the usual debris.

After Hunter's Alley we went down newly-minted "Lover's Lane Alley" as every trip down this alley seems to find us walking over used condoms, condom wrappers, along with empty bottles, crack pipes, and used needles. For whatever reason, this alley seems to be a favorite of the romantic junkies, so we decided to give it a fitting name.

Oftentimes, junkies stash needles on the other side of fences so that they can come back and retrieve them later to use, but today we brought along a spring claw to be able pick up those needles so residents don't have to worry about anyone coming by at night for the needles to shoot up on their property. The picture below is us taking a needle from behind a fence of a grateful resident who was happy to have us there removing needles from her property.

After Lover's Lane Alley we cleared Kid Power Park and then posted up at the 16th St. BART station for a few minutes before heading down Mission St.

We checked in on Alioto Park and as soon as we walked into the park a man got up and quickly walked out. He appeared to throw something away just as we walked in, so we probably interrupted him smoking a joint in a park meant for families.

After taking a break in the park, we continued down Mission to the 24th St. BART station where there was a man openly drinking beer at the station. We told him to pour it out or take it somewhere else, and he decided to take it somewhere else.

We then headed to Travis Alley but only found one needle there, which is a great sign that things continue to improve there.

After Travis Alley, we walked down 24th St. to Potrero and then looped back to check in on Mini Park, which was clean.

We headed back up Mission to check Alioto Park again and then back to Hunter's Alley for a final sweep. We went through Hunter's Alley once more, then checked Lover's Lane Alley again. As soon as we turned down the alley though, a man saw us and took off in the other direction immediately. He was probably getting ready to get high in the alley, and we spoiled his plans.

To end the day, we walked down Mission St. next to a stretch of land next to a school where people throw their empty bottles and used needles in. There are some holes in the fences and it appears that junkies climb through the holes to shoot up on the school grounds and then leave their needles there. Using the spring claw, we also retrieved a crack pipe (pictured below) from this same area along with numerous needles and empty bottles.

All told, we collected a record 35 needles for the day along with two small dope cookers and one crack pipe. We started the day with seven Guardian Angels, but one had to leave early for work, so we had a strong crew of six for the rest of the day.

Next week is Fleet Week in San Francisco, and we'll be out to help keep residents and tourists safe during the event. If you'd like to become a Guardian Angel, please send us an email at:

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