The Controllers office released a report today outlining early findings after the first year trial of the program. The program started under much protest from the SF Police officers association, the Mayor and the Chief of police. The Mayor went so far as to Veto the trial program back in November 2006.
The Supes, led by Ross Mirkarimi on this legislation, went on to override the Mayors veto, and the rest of the department seems to have gotten on board with the program. The SFPD had foot patrols before, this legislation was/is intended to put more officers on foot, and make their presence more apparent in the communities they police. Community policing, or foot patrols have been proven quite effective in other major cities in the U.S.. This legislation is hoping to achieve the same strong results that these other communities have experienced.
Is it working? Lifted from the full report (download PDF here):
- The SFPD committed 83,475 hours of foot beat staffing in the first six months of 2007, an 86% increase from 2006
- Foot patrols increase the community’s perception of safety. 82% responded by phone and 73% responded on the written survey that they feel “safer”.
- The SFPD did not meet all of the legislation requirements including not filing reports when beats were not performed. Lack of compliance was due to out of date tech and insufficient administrative oversight.
- Both Police staff and the community widely accept foot patrols, with majorities reporting in both groups that foot patrols are necessary tool for addressing crime and quality of life issues.
- The SFPD is lacking in clearly defined goals and objectives related to foot patrols.
The report goes on to list out many recommendations and strategies for bettering the program. There will be a joint hearing of the Police Commission and the Board of Supervisors Public Safety Committee on Wednesday, April 16th at 6 P.M. in the Board Chambers.
You can also read more about the trial and other reports on it’s effectiveness at the San Francisco Police Effectiveness Review site.
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Photo by scragz.