SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- Mayor London Breed launched an emergency police intervention in San Francisco's crime-ridden Tenderloin neighborhood Tuesday, targeting a pipeline of illegal drugs that has been fueling a surge in gun violence and deadly fentanyl overdoses.
Breed's anger and frustration over the crime surge in the city were on full display at her noon news conference.
"It's time the reign of criminals who are destroying our city, it is time for it to come to an end," she said. "And it comes to an end when we take the steps to more aggressive with law enforcement. More aggressive with the changes in our policies and less tolerate of all the bullshit that has destroyed our city."
RAW VIDEO: Mayor Breed Announces Aggressive Crime Crackdown
On Tuesday afternoon, the SFPD's Tenderloin Station Twitter account posted information on police activity in the neighborhood over just the past week, including the seizure of nearly a kilo of drugs -- more than half of which (over 600 grams) was fentanyl -- and the arrests of 17 suspected drug dealers.
Of those alleged dealers, 14 had previous arrests in San Francisco.
The Tenderloin crackdown was just one of four crime fighting initiatives Breed announced at a news conference that afternoon.
The other three were:
- Securing emergency police funding for needed resources
- Amending our surveillance ordinance so law enforcement can interrupt crime in real time
- Disrupting the illegal street sales of stolen goods.
"In recent months we've not only seen a number of high-profile incidents of brazen robberies and car break-ins but also street behavior and criminal activity especially in the Tenderloin that has become far too normal and cannot continue to be tolerated," Breed said.
"All of our residents, our workers and everyone who visits our city should feel safe no matter what part of town they are in. I know San Francisco is a compassionate city," Breed continued. "We are a city that prides ourselves on second chances and rehabilitation. But we're not a city where anything goes. Our compassion should not be mistaken for weakness or indifference."
Crime data shows there were 3,375 reports of larceny theft citywide in November -- the overwhelming majority of those were car break-ins.
SFPD's Central District, home to tourist hot spots including Fisherman's Wharf and Chinatown, sees the highest number of smash-and-grabs.
In fact, last month alone, there were 876 reports - that's almost 30 a day - compared with 442 last November.
In the Tenderloin alone there were six shootings, 2O drug arrests and 16 assault and batteries in the 50-square block Tenderloin last month.
Breed noted the obvious problems plaguing the Tenderloin plainly visible to anyone walking through the neighborhood, where drug dealers and people selling stolen goods crowding sidewalks sometimes force pedestrians to walk into the streets.
"We need to be aggressive in countering these problems," she said.
Breed met with a group of families from the Tenderloin last week.
"Hearing their stories was hard," she said. "Hearing their stories was heartbreaking. Just imagine if you had to walk your kids down the streets of the Tenderloin every single day with people shooting up (on drugs), selling drugs and because the sidewalks were so packed with people, you had to walk out into the streets in incoming traffic on a regular basis."
"You got these brand new playgrounds where you don't even feel comfortable walking your kids to play in them because od everything you see around them so you don't feel safe."
Breed expects opposition to her get tough on crime proposals, but believes they are necessary to return a sense of security to the city.
"To be clear, what I'm proposing today and what I will be proposing in the future will make a lot of people uncomfortable and I don't care," she said. "At the end of the day the safety of the people of San Francisco is the most important thing to me. We are past the point where what we see is even remotely acceptable."
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