CFAH

Having reduced the number of unsheltered individuals in the Outreach Zone around the hotly contested Embarcadeo Navigation Center site, adjacent to the Watermark and across from Piers 30-32 on a portion of the Port’s Seawall Lot 330 site, by nearly 80 percent over the past two years, reduced the local crime rate, and increased both the frequency of area street patrols and cleaning services, the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing (HSH) is preparing to submit their letter of intent to exercise their conditional option for extending the lease for the Embarcadero Navigation Center for another two years.

And with the four conditions of the two-year option to extend having been objectively met, with (1) a decrease in number of unsheltered individuals in the Outreach Zone, (2) the addition of dedicated beat officers in the Safety Zone and cleaning services provided through a non-profit partner, (3) monthly reporting on crime statistics, program utilization and cleaning updates, and (4) compliance with an agreed upon Good Neighbor Policy, the option could/should be approved by the Port Commission in October, assuming it’s supported by the Port.

And yes, plans for the development of two buildings rising up to 218 feet in height on the Seawall Lot 330 site, with 850 apartments over ground floor retail and parking, are in the works as well but have yet to be negotiated or approved.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Jackson

    As expected, the “two year option to extend the contract” was a foregone conclusion when the Navigation Center was installed.

    Based on my experience of crime in my Alamo Square neighborhood, crime is certainly increasing as evidenced by broken windows around the park and glass windows in neighbor’s garages. Lowered crime statistics due to residents feeling the whole system has failed them, hence not bothering to report crime would allows such statements as “reduced the local crime rate?” My friends in other neighborhood also talk of similar experiences.

    • Posted by Panhandle Pro

      Alamo Square is doing extremely well. Ever talked to a long-term resident about what Alamo Square used to be like? Total warzone. Google “Alamo Square crime 1980.” Here’s are some quotes. “The park used to be a crazy place – people overdosing, needles everywhere, and I don’t even want to say what was going on behind the bushes.” an influx of drug dealers and thugs is menacing Alamo Square and the surrounding Western Addition…nine people have been slain since January.”

      • Posted by Ohlone Californio

        Exactly right. Even back in the mid to late 90s Alamo Square was dodgy. Two different friends were robbed there in separate incidents at the top of the hill walking through gunpoint there at dusk. It isn’t even remotely comparable to how dangerous it used to be.

        • Posted by Panhandle Pro

          Indeed. That second quote was actually from the late 90’s. Most people have no idea that San Francisco is a far more hospitable, safer, more attractive place than it used to be. Hayes Valley was filled with prostitution. Dolores Park had grass three feet high. A freeway cut off the Ferry Building from everything else. The South Beach / Mission Bay / Dogpatch area was a complete No-Man’s Land. Same for Mid-Market. The list goes on.

          • Posted by Brian M

            But, but…I can’t eat at a café in Union Square anymore. And walking down Market from Van Ness to Union Square used to be so clean and safe. (Yeah.)

          • Posted by TA

            Ah yes, the late 90s. I know cars still get broken into now, but there’s a big difference between your car getting broken into, and your car completely disappearing…

          • Posted by jimbo

            TA: auto thefts are way way up in SF. on a personal note, my car was stolen from the inner richmond along with many others in the past few months

      • Posted by tfourier

        Well Alamo Square down into Hayes Valley in the early 1990’s and late 1990’s were two very different places, crime wise. For two reasons. Three Strikes in 1994 soon cleared out most of the repeat petty criminals. Which is why California went from the highest per capita crime rate in the early 1990’s to about average by the year 2000.

        The second reason is the projects in Western Addition, Hayes Valley and Lower Haight were completely rebuilt in the mid 1990’s. With only 90% of previous capacity. All tenants had to reapply. The 90% who never broke the law and never caused trouble got to move back into their old neighborhoods. The 10% who caused all the trouble were relocated to the East Bay. Which is why places like Vallejo had a big spike in crime in the late 1990’s.

        So by the early 2000’s areas which were dangerous back in the 1980’s and early 1990’s like Army St, Potrero Ave and lower Valencia were now safe.

        The reason for the recent up tick in crime is the dismantling of Three Strikes by Prop 47 and 57. Its not quite as bad yet as the early 1990’s. But its getting pretty close. When car jackings and armed robberies start become common again, which they have the last few years, the real mayhem wont be far behind.

        Those of us who learned our street smarts in the bad old days should be OK. Its all the incomers who dont remember the bad old days who will be soon added to the crime statistics. I’ve already had my first mugging set up recently for the first time in almost 25 years. I made it very obvious to the street crim I knew what he was doing so he moved on and mugged someone else a few blocks away shortly afterwards. Before Prop 57 I would have called the Mission Station and given an evidence statement but now, whats the point. The DA would never press charges even with outstanding warrants and breaking parole.

        I’ve notice that younger people no longer query me when I automatically lock the car doors once i get into the car. A habit I learned when car jacking were common in SF. Back when rolling stops at red lights at night were just basic common sense in many neighborhoods.

        So all you newcomers, stay safe. Pay attention. Never ever walk around with headphones on or cell phones out. If you are not paying attention you are just drawing attention to yourself. I can guarantee you if there are street crims around you are being watched. And being checked out. As a potential victim.

        • Posted by Ohlone Californio

          I agree. With the projects redesigns bad actors would lose their section 8s. Then when the new buildings were finished, non criminals moved back in. I suggest that future criminality was also curtailed by architecture.

          The old monolic fortress like projects being changed into townhouses made a huge difference. With townhouses you could no longer have a gang controlling a central courtyard and busting out the exterior lights, etc. Instead you have individual groups occupying individual homes where they could come and go in different directions without needing to deal with the bad actors, or having their young people needing to negotiate dangerous egress points constantly.

          But since you mention Valencia, and Army, and soon to be Potrero, and those projects redesigns, you leave out a critical component that completely changed street level safety in the Mission and surrounding. And that is the gang injunctions which went into effect in the mid 2000s.

          • Posted by tfourier

            The effect of the redesign of the projects was startling. Not just on the surrounding blocks but on the outlook of the people who lived in them. Before the rebuild it was very easy to spot who lived in places like the VG or Page St. They had that hunted look you saw in warzones. But afterwards you could see that they were so much happier. Felt safer.

            Thats why I’m looking forward to the finish of the redevelopment of the Potero Hill projects. The one project that was not dealt with back in the 1990’s. Mostly very nice people living in terrible temporary wartime buildings. Got to hear lots of stories while riding the 10 bus. I hope its as successful as the other rebuilds.

            The clearout of the gangs in the Mission was a two phase process. As you said the injunctions broke the back of the deep Mission gangs. But the project rebuilds of Army St and especially the VG really freed the edges of the Mission some years before. But it was still very obvious which streets still had gang houses.

            But by around 2010 the gangs were pretty much gone. I remember walking around a whole bunch of blocks in the low / mid 20’s in the Mission around 2013 and thinking back 20 years ago when I would have thought twice about driving down some of those streets even in day time. But now everyone was relaxed and the long term residents would nod and smile back as you walked down the street. It was great to see that they had got their neighborhood back.

          • Posted by Ohlone Californio

            Yeah, I lived right by the Valencia Gardens before, during, and after. The difference was really stark. Potrero Hill is being completely changed right now. I think there are a few more in the docket to be changed though. Westside Courts got redone too. What else is out there? Sunnydale.

      • Posted by BobN

        I fail to see what changes over 40 years have to do with changes over the last five, even two.

        I’ve lived in Hayes Valley / Alamo Square for 35 years. Yes, it used to be rougher in some ways — helped make it affordable for us. There were prostitutes then, but the drug problem is far worse today (though that’s in a lot of places).

        As for car break-ins and home robberies, they’re certainly up around here compared to recent years. In that aspect, it’s almost back to the 90s.

        • Posted by cmak

          so the area will soon be affordable to an entire new generation, circle of life!

          • Posted by tfourier

            But he failed to mention the regular drive by shootings back in the bad old days. I remember having to escort a woman friend to her front door on Hayes St at Gough even during the day because the street was so dangerous. I kept my back to the wall of the building while she opened the security gates to make sure we were not jumped. Someone had tried that a week after she moved in and she moved out after six months because several drive-bys happened on the block in the previous few weeks. This would have been around 1992.

            There was a very good reason rents were so cheap back then in Hayes Valley. It was dangerous. I remember you could also get great rental deals around the Laguna and Eddy area. If you did not mind the burnt out stolen cars on the street out front.

            In SF cheaper rentals either meant dangerous or cold miserable fog. I chose fog.

    • Posted by Michael

      I would bet the behavior from neighbors around the Navigation Center has been the opposite of what you suggest, with a concerted effort to report every possible incident and document an increase in crime in order to prevent the option from being exercised.

  2. Posted by Anonymous

    This is one of the best examples of karma coming for NIMBYs. They didn’t want housing to be built there so the city found another use for the site. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

  3. Posted by TA

    All great points about how bad crime used to be in SF. A lot of people have no idea how much better things are now!

    • Posted by Anonymous

      That’s true on a broad global scale. People don’t understand that the average person’s life today, even in developed countries but especially in the developing world, is far better than it was decades ago.

  4. Posted by Pablito

    I’m all for the navigation center, the City needs to address the homeless issues. But like many others, have zero faith in the crime statistics. The SFPD make it very clear when you try to report something like a car break in or bike theft that they will do absolutely nothing. Zero, zip, nada. You are just wasting your time filling out an online form for what exactly?

  5. Posted by ExSFLandlord

    Today in SF when you find your car has been broken into and your possessions stolen you are instructed to call 311 to report the crime. After the operator stops laughing they ask for your location so they can send out a crew to sweep up the broken glass.

    • Posted by Gee Ess

      Come on, let’s not be absurd. Nobody comes to sweep up the glass.

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