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San Francisco Officials to Boost Market Street Safety with New Plan

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- The office of San Francisco Mayor London Breed on Tuesday announced plans to increase police presence and introduce "community-based safety ambassadors" in the city's Mid-Market area.

The so-called "Mid-Market Vibrancy and Safety Plan" will be "aimed at creating a safer and more welcoming environment in the Mid-Market and Tenderloin area," according to the release issued by Breed's office.

The neighborhood has seen a surge in violence during the pandemic, particularly with attacks on Asian and Asian-American residents. Among the notable incidents in recent months were the brutal stabbing of two Asian women waiting for a bus on Market Street earlier in May and unprovoked attacks on two older Asian residents in March that grabbed headlines after one of the victims fought back, striking her assailant before he was detained.

According to the release, the plan includes both a visible increase in police presence to deter criminal activity and a community ambassador program to connect people in need with services and provide a welcoming presence for residents, workers, visitors, and businesses.

The plan calls for community-based safety ambassadors to be stationed on every block of the area from Powell Station and 5th Street to 8th Street on Market Street as well as adjacent areas just south of Market Street, UN Plaza, and the Tenderloin blocks bordered by Larkin Street and Eddy Street.

The plan calls for law enforcement and community ambassadors to work in tandem to address issues in the area and coordinate appropriate responses. The program will be funded in part by $5 million already designated Breed's upcoming budget proposal and will be supplemented by private funding, with key aspects of the plan drawing on existing funding as well as $3 million in state funding secured by UC Hastings.

"All of our residents and workers deserve to feel safe, and this area of the City continues to face a number of challenges that need to be addressed," Breed said in the release. "With this plan, we're focusing on both addressing the illegal activity that is unacceptable and will not be allowed to continue, while also building up our community presence so that this area is more welcoming, friendly, and accessible to everyone who lives, works, and visits the area."

Beginning immediately, the SFPD will also increase deployments in the area, including foot patrols, motorcycle and bicycle deployments, and officers on horseback. The officers will focus on providing a visible presence in the Mid-Market, UN Plaza and Tenderloin areas.

According to the release, the strategy will embody multiple objectives outlined in the SFPD Community Policing Strategic Plan enabling SFPD officers to collaboratively identify and develop responses to issues that affect local residents, businesses and visitors; to connect individuals in need to appropriate resources when services fall outside the scope of police work; and to increase the visible presence of officers though positive, trust-building engagements with the residents, businesses and visitors.

SFPD will operate this coordinated initiative from a UN Plaza location, where sister agencies and community-based partners will meet daily for updates and information sharing.

"San Francisco residents and businesses made enormous sacrifices over the past year to make our City's COVID-19 response a nationally recognized success, and nowhere were those sacrifices greater than in our Tenderloin and Mid-Market neighborhoods," said Chief of Police Bill Scott. "Mayor Breed's Mid-Market Vibrancy and Safety Plan is another bold step that makes good on our shared civic commitment to come back even stronger than before."

The  Mid-Market community-based safety ambassadors will be stationed on each block of the area for 10-12 hours per day, to engage with residents and visitors, support people in need and connect them with services, address safety issues and support the cleanliness of the area. That program is set to launch June 15 and will ramp up to full coverage over the summer.

Additional information on the plan is available on Mayor London Breed's official website.

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