Watch CBS News

San Francisco Mission District groups decry violence after assault of 78-year-old woman

Community groups decry violence against elders in San Francisco's Mission District
Community groups decry violence against elders in San Francisco's Mission District 02:10

SAN FRANCISCO -- Community groups in the Mission District on Wednesday demanded more protection from city officials in the wake of an assault on a 78-year-old woman.

That victim, teacher Yolanda Melera, stood with community leaders Wednesday as she described the attack.

Mission attack victim
Mission attack victim Yolanda Melera CBS

It happened as she was leaving the 16th Street Mission BART station earlier this month. She was walking to work from BART when someone robbed her of her purse and shoved her to the ground.

She said wants to create a safe environment for the children in her community, many of who are exposed to drugs and violence every day.

Also Read: Surging crime, dirty streets; Local residents say San Francisco's Mission District is in crisis

Community leaders said the attack is just the tip of the iceberg.

Neighbors say the mission has been ignored and that they don't even see any police presence, despite the SFPD station at 17th and Valencia, unless there is some kind of event happening.

They called on city leaders to focus on vendors selling stolen items, trash being dumped on the streets, violence prevention, human trafficking and traffic safety.  

Community leaders like Roberto Hernandez have declared a state of emergency with a clear message for the San Francisco officials.

"We as a community feel that we're been neglected, totally. 'Cause why is it that in Union Square, when they began to rob $5,000 Gucci purses, all of a sudden the city came in and cleaned the streets and got rid of all the elements and brought in security," said Hernandez. "Why can't they do that here? It's pretty simple." 

Oscar Gonzalez is the manager of Pancho Villa, a popular taqueria located on 16th Street, just over a half a block from the BART station. He told KPIX he is desperate for help.

"This can't go on like this. It's just getting worse. There has to be a positive change," Gonzalez said.

He says people in the neighborhood have been waiting for that change for decades. Gonzalez said the streets near his restaurant are extremely dangerous after 10 p.m.

"Closing early helps them a lot. It is less dangerous for the employees here, because some girls have to leave alone," Gonzalez said.

He said the decision was made after an employee was attacked last year while waiting for the bus.

Even patrons like Guadalupe Hernandez are terrified.

"The situation in the Mission is terrible. It's sad," she said. "I remember 21 years ago when I came to live here, and the Mission was so pretty. But now everything is ugly, sad, dirty." 

KPIX spent some time with Guadalupe and her grandson, talking about those 20 years and the changes she has seen. She says there are more homeless people and drugs are everywhere. It's why she left the Mission and moved to Daly City.

"We don't feel safe walking around here. Actually, we just park the car, eat and quickly jump into the car and leave," she said.

Oscar Gonzalez agrees. But he says he will stay here, hoping that this call for help could actually save the Mission if officials heed it.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.