Noe Valley Voice March 2009

Mission Police Station Captain Says He's All Ears

By Sally Smith

"We need to talk." That's what Mission Police Capt. Stephen Tacchini wants to say to Noe Valley residents.

Interviewed a week after he attended a Town Hall hosted by the Noe Valley Democratic Club on Feb. 18, Tacchini said he is convinced that communication is the key to increased public safety.

"We need to improve the information-sharing," said Tacchini, who recently completed a year in the top job at Mission Station. "We need to hear what you have to say. E-mail me or call me. I welcome your e-mails."

Sometimes residents fail to report an incident. Or they report a crime but never learn what happened in the case. "Maybe we caught them," Tacchini said. So he'd like to tell you what's hot off the presses.

For instance, he said the police recently set up a sting at a coffee shop in the area, to try to deter laptop thefts. "Our decoy puts a laptop and a cup of coffee on a table, and then walks away and waits."

The decoys have done their work, said Tacchini. "We've had six thefts and six arrests." And the operation is ongoing.

That's a bit of positive news. (And it's a reminder to never lose sight of your laptop, cell phone, or iPod. "Never leave anything visible" in your car either, Tacchini said.)

Another bright spot is that Noe Valley remains one of the safest neighborhoods in the city. "It's very safe," said Tacchini. "That's why eyebrows get raised when something does happen."

But if you have complaints or suggestions for better police enforcement, fire away. "I don't profess to know all the answers," Tacchini said.

He said he expected that Officer Lorraine Lombardo would be back on the foot patrol on 24th Street in late March. She's been on vacation, as well as nursing a slight injury to her hand.

Meanwhile, Tacchini is making the rounds of the neighborhood watch groups and community organizations. He can't say enough about their effectiveness.

"We have 55 neighborhood watch groups in the Mission, and I try to report to all of them. If you start one, I'll report to yours. That way, your group can tell 200 other people, and we can all be more diligent."

He also is sending out a weekly e-mail newsletter (in English and Spanish). And he is starting a blog. "Then we can respond to one another in an open format."

In addition, next month he will be providing the Voice with a crime log for the part of Noe Valley his station covers--from 21st Street down to Cesar Chavez Street, and from Guerrero up to Grand View.

To get in the loop, e-mail Tacchini at Or call him at the station at 558-5400. Or look out for him at Barney's Hamburgers on 24th Street. That's one of his favorite Noe Valley restaurants.