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By Officer Jane Warner, San Francisco Patrol Special Police
This month's Crime Beat (formerly Police Beat) has a different look from past police columns in the Noe Valley Voice. Officer Jane Warner of the San Francisco Patrol Special Police has submitted a crime log of recent incidents in Noe Valley, which she compiled from Mission Police Station reports. In future issues, she hopes to include reports from Ingleside Station, covering the southern half of Noe Valley.
You may know Warner from her afternoon patrols of 24th Street. Last December, she and another Patrol Special officer, Brian Wong, began walking a regular beat several days a week. They also walk a beat in the Castro District.
So what is the Patrol Special Police? "The Patrol Special Police was the original police force during the Gold Rush," explains Warner, who is current president of the 160-year-old law enforcement association. "Our grandfathers--maybe some grandmothers as well--formed what was called the Vigilance Committee, comprised mainly of merchants protecting their business interests. Because the town boomed overnight, there were no city services in place. There was literally chaos in the streets, with no protection. Our group was formed; soon after [came] the regular police department."
Today, the Patrol Special Police remains a private group, but its members are appointed by the San Francisco Police Commission and supervised by the Police Department. Officers are trained at the Police Academy, carry guns and police radios, and undergo background checks. "We have similar powers to the regular police, only we're not funded by the taxpayers but rather the private sector," says Warner. In Noe Valley, merchants pay $50 a month for the foot patrol service.
A former police officer in Honolulu and Marin County, Warner has been working with the Patrol Special Police for 15 years. She also writes a "Crime and Punishment" column for the weekly Bay Area Reporter. She has been a resident of the Miraloma Park neighborhood for the past decade. For information about the Patrol Specials, go to sfpatrolspecpolice.com. To talk to Warner directly, call 559-9955.
If you have a police emergency, call 911.
--Sally Smith, Editor
The following crime summaries, from the first few weeks of September, were culled from reports filed at Mission Police Station.
Vandalism: 4000 block of 25th Street, 9-7-07, 12:38 a.m.
Police responded to a report of a group of people breaking windows. When they arrived, they met with a woman who told them the suspects had fled in an unknown model car. Upset, the resident told officers she was asleep in her bed when she heard people outside the front of her house yelling for "Maria" and ringing her doorbell. The woman turned on the lights, went downstairs, and shouted out to the group through a closed front door that no one resided there by that name. The woman could hear the suspects talking, and one of them told another, "Use the bat to break the door in." Fearing for her life, the woman grabbed a hammer for protection and peeked out the curtains. The woman told officers she saw five young Hispanic women and one Hispanic male, all in their early 20s. One of the women had a baseball bat and swung at her window, shattering the glass. The group ran down the street, got into their car, and fled westbound on 25th Street. Officers searched the area, but could not find them.
Robbery with Force: 22nd and Grand View, 9-9-07, 3:06 a.m.
While visiting from out of down, a man was walking back to his friend's apartment early in the morning when he was suddenly grabbed around the neck from behind. "Give me your wallet," the suspect whispered in his ear. "I don't have a wallet," the victim replied. "Well then, give me what you do have." Afraid for his life, the victim took his $100 Sony Ericsson cell phone from his front pocket and held it behind his head. The suspect, described as a young male about five-foot-five, wearing a tan hooded jacket, grabbed the phone away from the victim and fled on foot southbound on Grand View Avenue. The victim, who was not hurt, returned to his friend's house and reported the incident to 911.
Robbery with Force: 100 block of Liberty, 9-17-07, 8:35 p.m.
A woman was walking westbound on Liberty Street carrying a small backpack and a laptop computer in a computer bag when a black two-door sports car pulled up alongside her. Two men exited the vehicle and started looking up and down the street. Thinking they were waiting for someone, the woman kept walking. Suddenly she heard footsteps behind her. Turning, the woman saw that it was the men from the sports car. "Give me your bags," one of the suspects demanded as he pulled at the strap of her computer bag around her shoulder. "Let go!" Fearing for her safety, the woman threw her bags at the suspects and began to run in the opposite direction. The robbers picked up the two bags, got back in their car, and fled southbound on Guerrero Street. Unhurt during the ordeal, the woman went home and notified police. Police returned to the area and searched for the men and the car, but were unsuccessful. The suspects were described as Hispanic males in their late teens, dressed in black baggy clothing. Taken during the robbery was a white Macintosh iBook laptop valued at $1,500, a brown laptop bag, a silver Verizon cell phone, an Apple iPod, a red wallet with a large "K" printed on the back, a green backpack, numerous credit and identification cards, and about $20 in $1 bills.
Residential Burglary: 200 block of Eureka, 9-17-07, 8 p.m.
A resident received a phone call at work from his neighbor informing him the front door to his house was wide open. The resident rushed home and found his front door had been forced open, leaving the door frame splintered and bits of wood lying about the floor. Fearing someone might still be on the premises, the resident slowly entered his house. After a walk-through was completed, the resident found the suspect was no longer there, nor were several of his belongings. Two Macintosh laptops, an Apple iPod Nano, an Olympus digital camera, and the resident's passport were all missing, with an estimated total loss of more than $5,000. Police responded to the man's house and took a report.
Theft from Building: 1100 block of Church, 9-17-07, 4:33 p.m.
While at work, a woman left her desk and went to the rear of her office. As she gathered paperwork, she looked down the hallway and saw a strange man crawling on the floor near her workstation. "Hey!" the woman shouted, "who are you?" Without saying anything, the suspect stood up and ran out the door. The woman ran after the intruder, described as an African American male, about 40 years old, wearing a black and blue suit, and saw him get into an dark four-door Volvo driven by another African American male. The getaway car fled at a high rate of speed northbound on Church Street. The woman returned to her desk and discovered her wallet containing about $40, several credit and ID cards, and a Bank of America checkbook, was missing.
Officer Jane Warner of the SFPSP walks a regular beat on 24th Street. You may e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 559-9955.
How to Contact the San Francisco Police Department
Noe Valley falls within the jurisdiction of two San Francisco police districts, Mission and Ingleside. Mission Police cover the northern half of the neighborhood, including 24th Street, and Ingleside Police the southern half, starting at Cesar Chavez Street.
Both districts hold monthly meetings that are open to the public. Mission Police District's community meetings are held on the last Tuesday of the month, 6 p.m., at Mission Station, 630 Valencia Street near 17th Street. Ingleside's community meetings take place on the third Tuesday of the month, 7 p.m., at Ingleside Police Station, 1 Sgt. John Young Lane, off the 2000 block of San Jose Avenue.
To speak to an officer at Mission Station, call 558-5400 or e-mail SFPDMissionStation@ci.sf.ca.us. The station's tip line for anonymous reporting of drug or gang activity is 575-4444.
To contact Ingleside police, call 404-4000 or e-mail SFPDInglesideStation@ci.sf.ca.us. The Ingleside anonymous tip line is 587-8984.
For citywide online reporting, go to www.sfgov.org/site/police.
To report a crime in progress, call 911. If it's a non-emergency, call 415-553-0123.
How Prepared Are You?
By Lt. Tim Oberzeir of Mission Station, SFPD
This October 17 will mark the 18th anniversary of the Loma Prieta Earthquake. For those who remember, the earthquake struck at 5:04 p.m., lasted approximately 15 seconds, and measured 7.1 on the Richter scale. The quake killed 62 people throughout California; 3,757 persons were reported injured, and more than 12,000 were left homeless.
While earthquakes are always a concern of residents in California, fires, severe storms, power outages, and acts of terrorism are other emergencies that we may encounter. Planning and preparation for events such as these is recommended by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Association) and the American Red Cross.
One simple way to prepare is to assemble a basic necessity kit that will allow you and your family to become self-sufficient for at least 72 hours after a catastrophic event. Water, food, first-aid/medical supplies, and blankets are among the recommended items that most persons would need.
A full list of necessary supplies, family emergency plans, and more information are available at the following sites: FEMA, American Red Cross, and the State Office of Emergency Services.