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By Erin O'Briant
After declining from February to April, crime in Noe Valley crept back up over the summer, perhaps due to the longer days and warmer weather. Police recorded 119 incidents during June and July, translating to an average of 59.5 per month. That number was up slightly from the 58 incidents reported in May (see July/August Voice). The June/July total included 48 cases of larceny or theft; 30 vehicle thefts; 18 cases of vandalism; seven assaults; seven burglaries; six robberies; and three drug offenses, mostly for marijuana possession.
Armed and Dangerous
Four of the street robberies in Noe Valley during June and July involved guns. On Friday, June 8, at 11 p.m., two suspects displayed a gun to a victim at Duncan and Church streets and then took the victim's bible.
Later in June, a woman was robbed on 24th Street near Guerrero Street by three men dressed in black hoodies. In the early hours of Thursday, June 21, the men pointed a gun in the woman's face and robbed her of her purse and other belongings. The suspects fled up Guerrero Street but were not caught.
At about 1 a.m. on Friday, July 13, four suspects confronted two people leaving a Muni bus at Valley and Church streets. The robbers took a cell phone, bag, and money from the victims.
Ten days later, a suspect wearing a bandana on his face pulled a gun on a victim at Day and Church streets at about 11:40 p.m. The robber took the victim's money.
Not all the summer's robberies involved guns, however. A strongarm street robbery took place on Monday, July 16, at 22nd and Guerrero streets. A person with a knife held up a woman at 24th and Guerrero streets on Thursday, July 5, at about 8 p.m. According to police, when officers arrived at the scene, the victim told them that the suspect showed her the knife and took her purse. The robber then entered a waiting vehicle, which was driven by an accomplice, and fled. Officers searched the area and found the car with the robber and getaway driver still in it. Evidence of the crime was in the vehicle, so both suspects were taken into custody.
Witnesses Aid Arrests
Police made another robbery arrest--with some help from alert community members--midday on Thursday, June 21, on the border of Noe Valley and Glen Park. A woman visiting from Canada was walking on Chenery Street when a man grabbed her purse and ran toward a car idling at Fairmount Street. Residents chased the man, however, and one of them caught him. A fight ensued, but the suspect broke away and continued running, disappearing near Fairmount Elementary School. Officers discovered the purse-snatcher hiding in the bushes; the victim and witnesses identified him as the robber. He was arrested for robbery and for receiving stolen property.
Ingleside officers also arrested two alleged gang members who reportedly mugged a young man on the afternoon of Wednesday, July 25, at 29th and Mission streets near the Mission Street Safeway. First, a group of people wearing Norteño gang colors demanded money from the victim. He refused. Then one suspect grabbed and held the victim while another gang member searched his pockets and took his money. A Muni driver who had seen part of the robbery flagged down two officers, who found the suspects running from the Safeway parking lot to the stopped Muni bus. Police captured one of the gang members on the bus and found the other hiding in a doorway on 30th Street. Police found the victim in the Safeway parking lot, and he identified the suspects, who were taken into custody. Under interrogation, one confessed to the crime; a Muni inspector told the Ingleside officers that the same suspects had been involved in a series of street robberies of new immigrants in the area.
Drunk and Disorderly
Police were involved in several alcohol-related disturbances in the neighborhood this summer. A tenant in the 2100 block of Castro Street, who was intoxicated, became enraged and verbally abusive when his landlord served him eviction papers in the early evening of Tuesday, June 5.
At 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 21, an estranged husband and wife began arguing at a residence in the 400 block of 28th Street. The wife allegedly threw items at the victim and threatened to pour boiling water on him. She was arrested for making criminal threats.
A man was arrested for public drunkenness on Saturday, June 30, and released later that day. He then returned to a residence on the first block of 29th Street at about 6 p.m. that evening, where he began knocking over furniture and threatening to fight his brother. Officers arrested him for disturbing the peace.
An Ingleside police officer spotted a man who appeared to be intoxicated attempting to flag down cars near the intersection of Church and 29th streets at approximately 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 14. The officer arrested him for being drunk in public and on a warrant from Contra Costa County for drunk-driving.
Kudos to the Cops
Ingleside Station has been conducting several pedestrian "stings" in and around Noe Valley this summer, including at the intersection of 28th and Church streets, in an effort to increase pedestrian safety. On Tuesday, July 31, officers issued 27 citations for failure to yield to pedestrians in and near Noe Valley; another sting was conducted on Friday, June 29. As of June 30, the station's officers had written 6,354 moving traffic citations, 2,000 more than any other station in San Francisco. According to Ingleside Capt. Paul Chignell, "Most importantly, because we believe in cause and effect, our injury accidents are down 30 percent from May to June."
Clipper Street Fire Victims Recovering
The two victims of a house fire in the 300 block of Clipper Street were both in critical condition when they were taken to the hospital in the early hours of Thursday, June 21, according to Lt. Mindy Talmadge, a spokesperson for the San Francisco Fire Department. "Both are recovering," she confirms.
The fire began at 4:13 a.m., according to Talmadge, and was confined to a downstairs bedroom. One victim, a woman who had been asleep in that room when the fire began, suffered from burns over 80 percent of her body, according to information provided by police, and the other victim had smoke-inhalation injuries.
The cause of the fire has not been determined, and the SFFD declines to comment on what might have happened. "There's nothing suspicious, no flagrant code violations or anything like that," explains Talmadge. She says the Fire Department typically takes a long time to determine the cause of fires in which victims suffer serious injury.
Don't Fall for Credit-Card Scams
Excerpted from the June 11 Mission Police Station newsletter and submitted by Police Lt. Garrett Tom:
Recently, the officers at Mission Station have learned about a credit-card scam in which the suspect calls the victim at home. This scam is clever because the suspect provides the victim with all the information except the three numbers the suspect wants.
Here's how it works: The caller does not ask for your credit card number because he (or she) already has it. The caller will pretend he is calling from the Security and Fraud Department at Visa or MasterCard. He will say something like, "Your card has been flagged for an unusual purchase pattern, and I'm calling to verify that no one but you is using your card. Did you purchase a vacuum cleaner for $495 from a company based in Idaho?" When you say no, the caller continues with, "Then we will be issuing a credit to your account." The caller continues by saying, "I will be starting a fraud investigation, and here is the control number. If there are any questions, please call the 800 number on the back of the Visa card."
The caller then claims he needs to verify that you are in possession of your card. He will ask you to look at the back of the card and find some numbers. There are seven numbers: the first four are part of your card number, and the next three are the security numbers that verify you are the possessor of the card. These are the numbers you use to make purchases over the Internet, and they are the numbers the scammer wants. After you tell the caller the three numbers he will say, "That is correct, I just needed to verify that the card has not been lost or stolen and that you still have your card."
After he hangs up, he will use your card numbers to charge up as many purchases as he thinks he can get away with. By the time you get your next credit-card statement, you will be in for a big surprise. Real credit card companies will never ask you for anything on the card; they have all the information because they issued the card. Be careful!
How to Contact the SFPD
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 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 request the Mission e-newsletter, write Capt. John Goldberg at SFPDMissionStation@ci.sf.ca.us.
To contact Ingleside police, call 404-4000 or e-mail SFPDIngleside Station@ci.sf.ca.us. The Ingleside anonymous tip line is 587-8984.
To sign up for Ingleside Station's daily crime e-newsletter, e-mail Ingleside Capt. Paul Chignell at Paul.Chignell@sfgov.org.
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.