Dozens of families living in San Francisco have been forced to hire private security firms to patrol streets in their neighborhoods amid spikes in brazen crimes as some have said they don’t feel secure any longer.
“We don’t feel safe in our neighborhood,” one resident, Katie Lyons, told KPIX-TV. “And we have an alarm, we have cameras on our property, but we want the extra security of having someone have eyes on our place.”
The outlet said that more than 150 families have turned to private security companies for protection.
Patrol Special Officer Alan Byard was hired by Lyons and some other families to help guard and protect streets in the Marina District following a series of home robberies and vehicle break-ins.
“It’s a nice area down here, people are afraid of what’s been going on,” Byard told the local CBS affiliate. “They want a safe place to raise their kids. In the last year, I’ve had 10 of my clients move out of the city.”
A police commission in San Francisco oversees Patrol Special Officers as they work in private security, the outlet said.
Byard said he patrols the Marina District in his vehicle, beginning at 8 p.m. and remaining on duty until 5 a.m. He said part of his job is to be on the lookout for anyone suspicious while charging $65 per residence per month.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Byard said his residential client business has more than doubled from 70 families to 150 in the Marina District alone.
Allan Brown, another resident in the district who has lived there for two decades, was asked whether he believes crime has gotten worse.
“Oh absolutely, absolutely. This place used to be – nothing would ever happen here,” he told the local outlet.
Lyons said that it is not at all unusual to see stolen property near her home, adding that when she is outside at night she does not carry a purse.
“Especially at night, I don’t walk with a purse, I’ll drive, or I’ll take an Uber, and it’s beginning to become a daytime problem, too,” she said.
Mayor London Breed has pledged to crack down on criminal activity, but it’s not clear what policies she will pursue.
Meanwhile, to that point, a growing number of prosecutors are quitting under left-wing District Attorney Chesa Boudin and are joining in an effort to have him recalled.
Brooke Jenkins and Don Du Bain told KNTV they left their jobs because Boudin is not interested in prosecuting a range of criminal activities as the outlet noted that “about a third” of the attorneys in the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office “have either left or been fired since Boudin took office in January 2020.”
“Chesa has a radical approach that involves not charging crime in the first place and simply releasing individuals with no rehabilitation and putting them in positions where they are simply more likely to re-offend,” Jenkins said.
“Being an African American and Latino woman, I would wholeheartedly agree that the criminal justice system needs a lot of work, but when you are a district attorney, your job is to have balance,” Jenkins continued.
Du Bain said he thinks that Boudin “disregards the laws that he doesn’t like, and he disregards the court decisions that he doesn’t like to impose his own version of what he believes is just – and that’s not the job of the district attorney.”
“The office was headed in such the wrong direction that the best thing I could do was to join the effort to recall Chesa Boudin as district attorney,” Du Bain added.
City police officials are also fed up with Boudin’s approach.
“Police are the bad guys, and the bad guys are the good guys in the mind of a progressive,” San Francisco Police Officers Association President Tony Montoya noted. “Chesa’s good at the blame game. We’re going to call him Mr. Deflector because he’s always pointing the finger left or right and never at the man in the mirror.”
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