SFPD Launches Effort To Curb Spike In Robberies
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) ― The head of the San Francisco Police Department's robbery detail said Wednesday police are conducting a multi-pronged effort to head off a spike this year in robberies throughout the city.
Police Lt. William Canning told members of the San Francisco Police Commission Wednesday evening that since February, police have conducted 25 robbery abatement team decoy operations, or RAT ops, in the city's Bayview, Ingleside, Mission, Southern and Tenderloin police districts, resulting in the arrests of 109 robbery suspects.
The actions come as police have seen robberies in San Francisco increase 10 percent through August over the same period last year, including 659 armed robberies with guns, a 35-percent increase, according to police statistics.
The number of robberies in San Francisco in 2008, not including pickpockets, has totaled 3,094 through Aug. 28.
Canning said the rise might be attributed to increased pressure San Francisco police have been putting on gangs in the city, whose members may be turning to robberies as an simpler way to get money, including by nabbing easily visible laptops and iPods.
He said many of the robbery suspect descriptions are of younger males in their late teens and early 20s, whose activity has not been confined to any particular areas of the city.
"They're basically occurring all over," he said.
"The guys who are robbing want money, so they'll basically go where the money is," said Canning.
"They're riding in cars, and, as we call it, going shopping," searching the streets for people to rob, he said.
Canning said robbers have not been targeting San Francisco restaurants and other businesses as in Oakland and other parts of the East Bay, though suspects arrested for a recent series of robberies in San Francisco were from Oakland, he said.
Police are also planning discussions to set up enforcement operations to counter a marked rise in robberies on San Francisco Municipal Railway buses this year, according to Canning.
Other police operations have included increased foot patrols in the downtown Market Street area, and public education programs offering safety tips to residents and businesses, Canning said.
Also, here's a Chronicle article detailing the rise in robberies in SF as well as in the Bay Area as a whole (Throughout the Bay Area, robberies have risen 40% between 2004 and 2007). It includes some interesting stuff, such as robbery maps for both San Francisco and Oakland, as well as the top 15 hotspots for robberies in each city.