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Increased Crime By Mentally Ill Homeless Worries San Francisco North Beach Residents

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- Residents of San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood packed a community meeting on Monday night to voice their concerns about the concurrent increases of both homelessness and crime in the area.

Over the weekend, San Francisco police said a mentally ill homeless man viciously attacked a man walking in Washington Square Park with his young son.

This attack was just one example in an uptick of violent incidents that have occurred in North Beach over the last six months.

"A huge uptick in crime and quality of life issues that have become frightening for a lot of people," said Erica Sandberg, a San Francisco resident.

Reports of mentally ill homeless people committing a variety of crimes in San Francisco have increased in recent months. Some of these crimes include the homicide of a store clerk and the random stabbing of two people with scissors just down from the crooked section of Lombard Street.

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Because of the increase in crime, a standing-room-only crowd packed a community center in North Beach to voice their concerns and to hear what city leaders are doing to keep neighborhoods safe.

San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott and City Supervisor Aaron Peskin were at the meeting.

"We've got increased homeless problems and people who heretofore haven't been violent or aggressive, and now are. And everybody is at their wit's end," said Peskin.

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Peskin asked for more patrols around parks, which police say they've agreed to do. He's also asking for police to create a special division for big events like the Chinese New Year, so that cops in neighborhoods can focus on keeping people safe.

A navigation center is also in the works.

However, not everybody was thrilled with about the visit from city leaders.

"We're not seeing preventative action. We're seeing a lot of reaction," said Taylor Standlee.

When asked if the meeting gave her any confidence, China Halton said, "No, this is actually making me really angry. Because I hear nothing. And as someone who is in North Beach every day, on a very busy corner, I see no one. I see no authority managing any of it."

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