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San Francisco mayor pledges extra police, security measures

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can you order gabapentin online SAN FRANCISCO – The Mayor of San Francisco on Tuesday announced even more initiatives aimed at curbing overt drug use, brazen home break-ins and other criminal behavior that she says mocked the city’s famous tolerance and compassion .

Mayor London Breed said at a press conference attended by the police chief and other public security officials that she would put in place laws that allow law enforcement agencies to have real-time access to surveillance video in certain situations and make it difficult for people to sell stolen property.

She also announced emergency operations to improve safety in Tenderloin, one of the poorest and most drug-infested neighborhoods in San Francisco, where parents have pleaded for protection from drug dealers and street violent behavior. There are several government buildings in the neighborhood, including the town hall.

“What I propose today and what I will propose in the future is going to make a lot of people uncomfortable and I don’t care,” said Breed, a Democrat. “We have passed the point where what we see is even remotely acceptable.”

She said it was time to get aggressive and “less tolerant of all that bull – it destroyed our city”.

The announcement follows a meeting the mayor had with Tenderloin families last week, as well as a report from The Associated Press describing the frustration of some residents who say the city is in decline. They said that despite San Francisco’s wealth, city officials were not doing enough to clear the streets of human feces and trash, shelter people who were homeless, and deter drug dealers.

They’re also upset that last year San Francisco public schools taught remotely for much of last year, while neighboring counties and private schools within the city offered classroom teaching.

Criminal justice advocates for fewer incarcerations say the media has fueled fear in a city where overall crime rates have declined in recent years. They say increased enforcement only harms the most vulnerable, including black and homeless residents, without improving public safety.

Similar debates are taking place across the country in liberal cities, where the murder of George Floyd sparked a surge in progressive activism, including calls for cities to reconsider the way cities deal with crime. Some cities calling for police relief, including Portland, Oregon, have moved in recent months to boost police budgets.

John Hamasaki, a San Francisco police commissioner and defense attorney who is very critical of additional policing and surveillance, said Tuesday that tax dollars are better spent on services, treatment and housing.

He said the city should open a monitored drug use site and act to treat addiction rather than employing methods that push trafficking to other neighborhoods.

“The situation in the tenderloin will ultimately not be resolved by more police work,” he said. “It seems like we’re doing the same dance over and over and expecting different results.”

However, Randy Shaw, executive director of the Tenderloin Housing Clinic, which provides legal services and housing to low-income people, said more police patrols would deter vendors and make the neighborhood safer for residents. At the same time, he has heard the mayor’s promises and seen little concrete action.

“I’m glad the mayor came out like this, but actions speak louder than words,” he said. “We heard a lot of promises and now we need to make sure they are kept.”

Breed has directed the city’s emergency management department to lead the response at the tenderloin, much like the agency is coordinating efforts to fight the pandemic. The department will, in part, streamline emergency medical calls, disrupt drug trafficking and use, and clean up “bad roads,” she said.

“And when I say nasty, full of feces and urine, that the Department of Public Works cleans up every day but comes back only a few hours later,” she said.

Breed said she would ask the board of directors for more money to pay police overtime and top up the department’s budget. Changes in the law would also require the support of the board, which is not guaranteed.

San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott said the criminal justice system has changed so that possession of drugs does not put a person in jail and that police are now trying to balance enforcement with support services for the addicts and the homeless.

“But at the end of the day people won’t be allowed to smoke meth, smoke fentanyl, inject heroin in public places,” he said.

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