November 20, 2014

Crime Beat: Is Violent Crime in Noe Valley On The Rise?

The big crime news this week is the suspected attempted abduction of a 12-year-old boy from outside St. Philip School. Details are still a bit fuzzy, but the story is pretty scary:
Officials at a school in San Francisco’s Noe Valley are warning students and parents to be vigilant after a man chased a seventh-grader outside the campus.

The incident happened outside Saint Philip the Apostle School at 665 Elizabeth St. about 3:40 p.m. Wednesday. A 12-year-old boy was walking on Elizabeth and turning onto Diamond Street when he sensed someone “rushing toward him” from behind, said Principal Remy Everett. He turned around and saw a man coming straight at him, Everett said. The boy ran and screamed and took cover in a cafe half a block away, Everett said. The man fled. Everett said she believes the man wanted to kidnap the boy.

The incident was witnessed by a girl who is in sixth grade at the school, she said. The assailant never touched the boy, and there was no verbal exchange, “but the very fact that he was chased half a block down is a strong indication of a very dangerous situation,” Everett said.

In a note to parents late Wednesday, Everett wrote that “there was an attempted abduction” outside the school. “Our student did everything correctly when he felt he was in a bad situation, running, screaming and going to the nearest business,” she wrote.

The boy and his grandmother returned to school to report the incident, which is under investigation by police. The case is being classified as a “suspicious act toward a child,” and police can’t confirm that the person intended to kidnap the boy, said Officer Grace Gatpandan, a San Francisco police spokeswoman.

Officers are hoping to speak to more witnesses and obtain video surveillance footage, she said. The assailant was described as a Latino man, about 5 feet 9 to 5 feet 10 inches tall, wearing a white or light gray sweatshirt with a hoodie and navy or gray sweatpants.
Scary, and as stated, actual motivation is unknown. But parents are understandably spooked:

Other crime in the last few weeks or so has us wondering if there is a trend in our little village. Assaults have been reported, as have bank robberies and a recent unexplained cops with shotguns incident.

Reports detailed in the Ingleside Station Newsletter range from bikes stolen, GPS systems left out in the open, etc. But lately there have also been a string of more violent crimes. (We'd love to see reports from the Mission Station, which protects the northern part of Noe Valley, but it hasn't provided quality and timely crime data for years now.) Here are some recent Ingleside entries:
November 8

Aggravated Assault
-- 11:30pm, 29th/Church. A woman walking home was assaulted by a stranger. The victim told Ingleside Officers Ferronato and Kikuchi that she was walking westbound on 29th street, near Church, when she walked past a young man traveling in the opposite direction. A short time after she passed him she felt a shove in her back causing her to fall face first onto the sidewalk. Then she said she was kicked several times in the back before the suspect ran away.

Aggravated Assault of a Police Officer -- 11:57pm, 1700 Blk Dolores. Ingleside Officers Busalacchi and Hackard were dispatched to a call of an auto burglary in progress in the area of 30th and Dolores Streets. When they arrived they noticed a man, matching the description of the burglar, walking northbound on Dolores Street near 30th. The officers told the man to stop but instead of stopping, he took off running. The officers chased the suspect in their patrol car and watched as he jumped into a parked Nissan on the 1700 block of Dolores. The officers stopped their patrol car next to the Nissan, exited their patrol car, and ordered the suspect to get out of the car. Instead of complying, the suspect started the vehicle and drove directly at officer Busalacchi just missing her. The suspect continued driving south on Dolores to San Jose Avenue almost striking another marked police car. The suspects then escaped at a high rate of speed down San Jose and onto southbound #280.
November 9

Hot Prowl Burglary
-- 7:00pm, 1800 Blk Church. A homeowner called police to report a burglary. The victim told Ingleside Officers Wong and Chang that she woke up earlier that day and found her garage door open and two bicycles missing. She said that she remembers closing the garage door the night before with the bicycles in the garage on a rack. The victim said the garage is shared with an upstairs neighbor.
November 15

Aggravated Assault
-- 8:00pm, Valley & Church. A woman walking her dog late at night was attacked by an unknown assailant. The victim told Ingleside Officers Morrow and Siracusa that a man walked up behind her, grabbed her dog leash, and threw it into the street with the dog attached. The victim then turned and grabbed the man’s face while falling to the ground. The suspect then kicked the victim several times in the back while she was on the sidewalk before running away. She got up and went home and called police. She told Morrow and Siracusa that fortunately she and her dog didn’t suffer significant injuries from the attack. She provided a description of the assailant and said she could possibly recognize him.
So what do you think Noe Valley - are we seeing an uptick? Or is it just better reporting thanks to social media? Or, (and more nefarious), are news organizations throwing the Noe Valley label on anything like yesterday's three car arson fire in the Castro to get attention? And if we are seeing an uptick, what should we do about it?


Anonymous said...

Two words. "Everett said."