Mar 30

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Community Safety night with our police

Captain Paul Chignell addresses the community

Captain Paul Chignell addresses the community

Last night I attended a crime prevention meeting on San Bruno Ave. In response to some recent local incidents the San Francisco Community Empowerment Center (SFCEC) asked police officers from our Bayview station to speak to the community. We were honored with the presence of the station Captain, Paul Chignell along with five other officers. The SFCEC event was organized by Teresa Duque (Executive Director) and Ellen Lee Zhou (Senior Program Director) who work mostly with the Asian population in the Portola and as such many of the audience was Cantonese and Mandarin speaking. Luckily both the SFCEC and the police had translators on hand.

Officer Ng speaking to the room in Mandarin

As the evening began, many expressed concern over safety when walking on the streets late at night. The police acknowledged there had been a recent trending increase and that they were fully engaged in addressing the problem. Sgt Skover commented that arrests are made daily in this district and the ones which are successful are those where the community provide witness reports and actively engage in preventing crime.

He was also keen to stress that once a case has been opened, it is important for the community to attend court hearings and follow through to a conviction.

So there was much discussion back and forth, which took time as it was cross translated into the different Chinese languages and English. But the overall messages of the evening were;

  • Police awareness is critical. If you see something suspicious, a crime being committed or you are a victim of a crime, you MUST call 911 as soon as possible. Without the community informing the police, their ability to react effectively is significantly diminished.
  • Across the whole city, street crime is often focused on technology theft. Be sensible when using your phone or walking the streets with devices like iPads. It is so easy for a thief to steal and quickly sell such items. So be wary of where and when you use them.
  • Continue the connection between the community and the city agencies like the police and your district supervisor. Attending meetings like these are important to bringing the community together.

The night was a great success and the feeling of community was quite overwhelming. The police did a great job in updating their current approach to the neighborhood and it was good to meet the people who police our street. Percy Hernandez, the beat officer for San Bruno Ave, is also going to try and join our Wednesday lunchtime restaurant reviews.

Speakers for SFCEC Safer Community meeting

Speakers for SFCEC Safer Community meeting

We also heard from one of our district supervisors, Malia Cohen, who gave a great talk on how she wants the community to communicate more with her office. As an African-American woman she also wanted to point out to us that although statistically many crimes are being committed by African-Americans, it doesn’t mean the whole community are criminals. The more all our wonderfully diverse ethnic groups work together, the safer and more beautiful our neighborhoods will be.

David Campos, our other supervisor, couldn’t make the meeting due to a family event. However, he will attend another meeting on the 14th April at the SFCEC center, details will be on this blog when we get them.

The Portola remains a safer place with these type of community events and everyone should try to attend these meetings so they can meet the people who are part of our neighborhood. There could not be a more perfect way to end this article than to report on the success of the work by the police in the Portola. There was a report yesterday that two suspects who were quickly stopped by the police after a victim who was robbed had called 911.  The suspects were arrested and charged with several robberies in the area. Crucial to this report was the evidence provided by the victim who should be applauded for her actions and as well as the speed and efficiency of the police.

Good turnout from the local neighborhood

Good turnout from the local neighborhood


Permanent link to this article: http://portolaplanet.com/2012/03/community-safety-night-with-our-local-police/

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