SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) - As crime and and violence in the Bay Area continues to make national headlines, police in San Francisco said they continue to make arrests, and investigate armed robberies and car burglaries.
The department explained it takes time to track and locate suspects given the organization behind these crimes.
"We're out here doing these operations, conducting these investigations, we're putting together good cases, we're making good arrests, and we're going to keep doing that," said Officer Adam Lobsinger, a public information officer for the San Francisco Police Department. "We're going to keep making arrest and presenting cases to the D.A.'s offices."
Police say these crimes need to be treated seriously because the charge of stolen property only begins to describe the attributes of these cases.
Suspects have been found with weapons and can be a danger to the public. The department's investigations into these crimes recovered ghost guns and suspect vehicles they were following well before making arrests. Last week, five suspects were taken into custody for both auto burglaries and armed robberies, including one juvenile.
"It's up to the police to make arrests and when the police do make arrests, it's up to me to hold them accountable," said San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin. "That's exactly what I do."
Union Square has transformed since a mass robbery hit stores last month. Police remain in the area with a heavy presence weeks later.
"I feel a lot safer walking around seeing cops all over the place," said Kristi Lee, a holiday shopper in Union Square on Monday. "It felt like a free for all before and now we're taking charge of it."
Other visitors to the retail district were not as comfortable moving around the city and were surprised to hear police had made progress in their investigation.
"Unless I have to get something, I'm not really walking about," said James Scott. "Well if they're making arrests, I sure haven't heard anything about it."
Lobsinger said they hear the concerns of the public and they are working as a police department to change that perception. More arrests are expected this week.
"There's a certain level of organization, there's a certain level of planning, we're organized, we're planning, we're making these arrests, we're going to keep making these arrests," he said Monday.
Boudin attended a rally of supporters while the effort to recall him as D.A. moves forward. After the event he took questions from the media about the criticism that remains about his approach toward these crimes. Boudin pushed back saying he has filed more charges than the current D.A. in Alameda County or his predecessor in San Francisco, compared to their tenure for 2018 and 2019.
"The single biggest deterrent to committing crimes is certainty of arrest, we need people who come to San Francisco to commit a crime to know without a doubt if they commit a crime here, they will be arrested," Boudin said.
KPIX 5 specifically asked him if he believes he is doing all he can as D.A.
"This is not a San Francisco problem, this is a problem we are seeing all across the country," he said.
Boudin said the blame some place on him is related to policies prior to his administration. He said courts require two years for cases to be processed and he has not served for that long. Boudin argued three years are needed to review the results of cases under his watch. He did say that while the issue isn't specific to San Francisco, he's working with other elected officials and law enforcement to tackle these organized crimes with a regional response.
Meanwhile, police encourage residents to report all crimes because individuals incidents could be connected later to a larger operation they are already investigating.
"We're everywhere, we're all across the city, and we want people to feel safe to come here," Lobsinger said. "We want people to shop here, and we want to feel welcome in this town."
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