San Francisco police address violence
in Western Addition
Increased presence is working to deter turf wars
By Brent Begin, Bay City News Service
March 2, 2007
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - An increased police presence in
San Francisco's Western Addition has cooled down a heated turf
war that has left many residents afraid, San Francisco Police
Captain John Ehrlich told a handful of community members last
At the meeting -- called following a spike in violence that claimed
two lives and injured several more, including a 13-year-old girl
-- tempers sometimes flared.
Some felt police would only leave once the violence subsided,
only to have criminals return to their previous activities. Others
felt that police weren't doing enough to arrest drug dealers and
Ehrlich, appearing along with Assistant District Attorney Pamela
Hansen, police Capt. Kevin Cashman and police homicide investigator
Lt. John Murphy, said he understood the concerns of the community
but that crime is actually down statistically from last year.
He also pointed to three arrests in the Feb. 11 shooting of the
13-year-old girl as proof that some progress was being made. The
shooting was one of at least five in a 24-hour time span that
left two dead. According to Ehrlich, who was representing Park
Station, those shootings were most likely gang-related. Lately,
he said, a loose confederacy of smaller gangs calling themselves
Uptown have been "at war" with Eddy Rock, an alleged
street gang based in the Plaza East housing units.
But Ehrlich said keeping these groups at bay isn't always easy
because boundaries and alliances are never set in stone.
"The boundary is not a wall, not for gangs and not for police,"
he told concerned residents.
"We've concentrated a lot of units here just to stop the
violence, cool people down a little bit."
Once violence flares up in another part of the city, however,
those resources will have to move on.
Community members suggested a gang injunction like the one implemented
in the Bayview district in October. Mary McGarvey, a San Francisco
resident who works in the Western Addition, said she is sick of
being afraid to walk in the neighborhood. She called for a "nice
clear strategy" to crime near federal housing projects.
"They're federally subsidized to loiter, shoot and do drugs,"
she told the crowd.
Cashman responded by saying the department was relying on a host
of different strategies involving federal authorities. Through
the U.S. Attorney's office, for example, dangerous criminals have
been prosecuted through federal racketeering statutes, he said.
As to what the department will do once U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan
the Northern California office, Cashman said he is guardedly
optimistic that the new U.S. attorney will continue assisting
"It's a win, win situation," he added.
Copyright © 2007 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication,
Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent
of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.