Saturday, October 18, 2008

Patrol in the Mission, 10/18/08

The weather was nice today and the Mission was packed with people because of the Red Bull Soapbox Race, but everything went OK.

We started our usual patrol by clearing Hunter's alley and securing several used needles. We collected 15 used needles today.

After that, we cleared Kid Power Park and headed to Dolores Park to briefly check out the scene of the soapbox race before moving on down Mission.
(Kid Power Park)

(Mission Dolores Park)

We walked down Mission and then up to Alioto Park where we came across several people drinking and sleeping in the park. We either woke them up or made them take their drinking elsewhere so families could enjoy the park, and then we headed back down Mission to the 25th St. BART station.

We posted up for a while at the station as there were several individuals who appeared to be under the influence and were arguing, but they eventually calmed down and left. We cleared Travis Alley before heading back up Mission to check on Alioto Park and Hunter's Alley again.
(Travis Alley)

When we came back through Hunter's Alley, we came across some tourists from Fremont who thought the alley was a good place to get out of the sun, but we advised them of the nature of this particular alley, and they decided it was a good idea to find somewhere else to hang out.

After riding the bus back and getting ready to call it a day, a woman came up to us on Market St. as someone had just stolen her purse and took off running. Her cell phone and wallet were in the purse, but someone a block away had come across the cell phone. We helped her locate it, but her wallet was long gone. Unfortunately, we were about a minute too late to have possibly prevented the crime.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Attacks by Teen Groups Rising in D.C. and Nation

While this article is mostly about NW Washington, DC, San Francisco neighborhoods have also been dealing with an increase in robberies and muggings.

Attacks by Teen Groups Rising in D.C. and Nation

By Theola Labbé-DeBose
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 13, 2008; B01

D.C. police say they are seeing a growing number of teenagers and young adults traveling in groups to assault and rob unsuspecting citizens, a trend that mirrors crimes in cities across the country.

In an eight-hour period last week, five people were attacked by juveniles in separate incidents, including an armed carjacking, in the Southwest waterfront neighborhood. And in the past month, there have been between seven and 11 "pack robberies" in or near Adams Morgan in Northwest Washington, Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said.

Similar attacks have occurred in the Brookland area of Northeast and Chinatown. Police said the crimes are not necessarily related but are part of an increase that has led to heightened enforcement.

"They're looking for someone who has a cellphone or someone using an iPod. Or they're just looking for some fast cash or a credit card," Lanier said Friday at a news conference in Adams Morgan, where she announced that there will be more patrols there. "You'll have a lone person walking, and there are five young males or more, and it's ridiculous. There's no need to beat people in those circumstances, but that's what they do. Just senseless."

The attacks in Southwest unfolded between 5 p.m. Monday and 1 a.m. Tuesday. The trouble began when five teenagers on bicycles attacked a man from behind, pushed him to the ground, hit him in the face and stomach, and fled. Police said they think that the attackers were between 16 and 18 years old.

A 52-year-old lawyer suffered serious head trauma after four to six teenagers beat him in the 1000 block of Sixth Street SW about 9 p.m. Monday. Later Monday, also in Southwest, two teenagers stuck a gun in a man's face, slapped him and demanded his belongings, police said. After the victim said he didn't have anything, the teenagers fled, police said.

In another incident, a man was hit in the head from behind with a brick. And three youths confronted a Southwest resident early Tuesday in the 200 block of I Street SW, surprising him after he parked his car at an apartment building. After forcing a gun to his head, the youths stole $20 and his car and led a U.S. Capitol Police official on a chase until they crashed the car, authorities said. Canine units eventually forced Raymond Sturgis, 17, of the 200 block of K Street SW out of hiding, and he has been charged as an adult.

Irv Gamza, 83, who has lived in Southwest for more than four decades, said crimes committed by teenagers have become more serious in the past several years. "First they just annoy or harass people. Then they start getting physical. And then they rob," Gamza said.

Gamza, who is a member of the police Citizens' Advisory Council, said that if anyone in the neighborhood claims not to be afraid of groups of roaming juveniles, they "are just lying to themselves."

"You have some juveniles who are not bothering anyone. And you have some where you don't know under what condition you're going to have a problem," he said.

At a national violent-crime summit last week, sponsored by the nonprofit Police Executive Research Forum, police chiefs exchanged stories about the spate of robberies and juvenile crimes, Executive Director Chuck Wexler said.

In recent years, police in the District and other cities have dealt with spikes in robberies. Although the numbers posted by cities across the country decreased in the past two years, they remain higher than in 2004, Wexler said. In the District this year, there were 3,180 robberies as of Sept. 30, roughly the same as last year. The numbers for the month of September were up, however -- 413 compared with 388 last year -- based on preliminary statistics on the police Web site.

"Robbery is the number one crime accelerating across the country in large, medium and small areas," Wexler said.

The Police Executive Research Forum, which tracks statistics in 56 cities, has pinpointed an "explosive increase" of juveniles participating in robberies, Wexler said. In Minneapolis, police and government officials created a juvenile unit just to deal with the rising crime in that area, he said.

Lanier, who attended the crime summit, was struck by the parallels between the recent attacks in the District and those in other cities.

"I talked to a lot of chiefs at a conference the other day -- there were 180 chiefs and sheriffs from around the country -- and every one was saying the same thing: that this has become a real crime trend," Lanier said.

Bryan Weaver, an advisory neighborhood commissioner in Adams Morgan, said he is concerned that more robberies are occurring on neighborhood streets away from the main commercial strip along 18th Street NW.

"Right now, the major concern of residents is that people are putting guns to their faces when they're coming home from work or dinner," he said.

Staff writers Paul Duggan and Martin Weil contributed to this report.
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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Fleet week patrol and visibility

This was Fleet Week in San Francisco, and the San Francisco Guardian Angels were out today along the waterfront to patrol.

We patrolled along the waterfront to deter pick-pockets, purse-snatchers, and other criminals from taking advantage of the spectators during the air show. We had a total of 14 Guardian Angels out today, including several from the Vallejo chapter.

Towards the end of the day we took a break to watch the Blue Angels perform.

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

SF Guardian Angels mentioned in the SF Chronicle

I recently attended a community meeting in the Glen Park neighborhood of San Francisco in regards to the recent spike in street crime, and a San Francisco Chronicle reporter wrote about the meeting online today.

Never fear! The angels are here.

Lance Iverson/The Chronicle

The Oakland chapter of the Guardian Angels patrols Grand Avenue in April.
We last wrote about the San Francisco Guardian Angels four years ago, when they flew into the Mission District (more recently, an East Bay chapter offered help to Oakland residents). Now, the volunteer patrol group is offering a helping hand to the Bernal Heights and Glen Park neighborhoods, which have been hit hard in recent months by an increase in muggings and other street crimes.

The group's assistant chapter leader recently reached out with an email, and subsequently attended a community meeting, where many people appeared receptive to the idea. Nothing's official yet, but it looks likely that the Angels will be patrolling a bit further south in not too long.

By the way -- you can read about their Mission District exploits here.

Posted By: Marisa Lagos (Email) | October 08 2008 at 01:37 PM

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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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Friday, October 3, 2008

SFGA history: Guardian Angels to patrol Safeway after mugging; victim eventually dies, 1995

After the attack, the San Francisco Guardian Angels stepped up to provide residents and shoppers with protective patrol services in the parking lots and surrounding areas at night.

-No guard on duty when woman beaten, robbed; Woman dies of injuries from attack at Safeway

November 22, 1995

November 23, 1995

December 6, 1995

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Thursday, October 2, 2008

SFGA history: Gang rape sparks demand for housing project patrols, 1995

Gang rape sparks demand for housing project patrols;

Carla Marinucci. San Francisco Examiner. San Francisco, Calif.: Oct 8, 1995. pg. C.1

Neighbors of San Francisco's Plaza East housing project say the recent gang rape and beating of a woman was "the last straw" for the Western Addition area terrorized by crime, gangs and drug deals.

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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

SFGA history: Peninsula cops seek rape suspect, 1995

While this may have occurred a long time ago, San Francisco still has a major problem with rape. If you feel the San Francisco Guardian Angels can be of assistance to you or your friends to help deter or prevent sexual assaults in certain areas or if you would like us to provide security for an event, please contact us via email.

Peninsula cops seek rape suspect. Women have been assaulted walking or jogging during day;

Erin McCormick. San Francisco Examiner. San Francisco, Calif.: Sep 8, 1995. pg. A.11


Cops seek "crazed' rapist after attack on Sunnyvale woman;
San Francisco Examiner. San Francisco, Calif.: Sep 9, 1995. pg. A.2

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