In late October, Mayor London Breed and District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman announced they were working with the sheriff and the Adult Probation Department to make changes to the city’s electronic monitoring program.
The use of electronic monitoring to reduce incarceration has expanded dramatically in the past four years. “The percentage of individuals out of custody and on alternative forms of incarceration like electronic monitoring increased from 37 percent in 2016 to 63 percent in 2020,” according to the mayor’s office.
However, the intended deterrent effect of the electronic monitoring has fallen short. “One out of every three people on pretrial electronic monitoring in San Francisco removes their ankle monitor or commits other crimes,” said Mandelman. “If one out of every three cells in our jail had broken locks we would do something about it.” He said the city needed to continue investing in alternatives to incarceration and ensure the effectiveness of those alternatives.
In response to a letter from Mandelman, the sheriff’s office released information showing a serious deficiency in the program. During the past year, 381 persons on electronic monitoring failed to comply with the terms of their release; 160 failed two times, 66 failed three times, 27 failed four times, four failed five times, three failed six times, two failed seven times, and one person failed nine times. In addition, many released on electronic monitoring were charged with such violent crimes as assault with a deadly weapon, kidnapping, child molestation, attempted murder, rape, robbery, and carrying a loaded gun.
“Electronic monitoring is essential in our work to reduce incarceration,” said Breed. “But if it is failing as a tool for deterrence, then it is failing those we are trying to keep out of jail and we are failing the public.”
In other crime news, for the year to date through Sept. 19, robberies in the Northern Station district of the city were down 2.82 percent from the same time last year; burglaries declined 10.52 percent; and auto burglaries were up 7.01 percent.
What follows are summaries of recent cases handled by the police of the San Francisco Police Department’s Northern Station for one week in September.
Sept. 20, 6:55 a.m.
Cleary Court and Laguna Street
Officers en route to the scene of a reported robbery located a subject matching the description provided by dispatchers. They detained the subject without incident and located a pocket knife on the subject.
The officers contacted two victims, who reported that the subject had brandished a knife, demanding their money and threatening to harm them with the knife. No one was injured in the incident. The subject was arrested for robbery and threats and booked at County Jail.
HIT AND RUN
Sept. 20, 2:40 p.m.
Hayes and Gough Streets
A juvenile without a helmet was riding a scooter when a driver ran a red light and hit the scooter. The juvenile suffered serious injuries in the collision and was taken to a local hospital. The driver fled the area.
Sept. 20, 8:30 p.m.
McAllister and Pierce Streets
Officers on a violence reduction assignment responded to a Shot Spotter activation. They arrived to find multiple witnesses reporting that two vehicles had fled the area after several shots were fired. Officers located video surveillance, casings, and a bullet at the scene.
Sept. 21, 9:20 a.m.
900 block of Divisadero Street
Two officers responded to a report of a robbery at a local business. The victim reported being accosted by an aggressive subject, who assaulted the victim, stole a tip jar from the business, and fled on a Muni bus. The victim was not injured.
Sept. 24, 12:25 p.m.
1500 block of North Point
Three officers on patrol observed an unresponsive subject suffering from an apparent opiate overdose. They rendered medical aid, including the administration of Narcan. Fire department medics then took over the care of the subject who was transported to a local hospital.
Sept. 26, 12:15 a.m. and
600 block of Octavia Street and unit block of Page Street
In the span of two and a half hours, Northern Station officers investigated two arsons in the outer Hayes Valley area.
The first one occurred when a witness reported a fire inside a business; the second was a trash fire that damaged two parked vehicles.
Firefighters extinguished both fires. An SFPD and San Francisco Fire Department join arson unit is investigating both fires.