Police Beat

Police Beat – Sunset District

Please Drive Safely This Spring

By Capt. Nicholas Rainsford

Greetings everyone.

I think we might finally be out of the bulk of the rainy season and Spring is upon us, I hope!  

As we transition into spring and our daylight starts to last longer, I would like to remind everyone to please drive safely.  The sun can shine directly in your eyes and reflections can hit from different angles. We can all get a bit more relaxed while driving in what we think are better conditions, but we must remain attentive to safe driving.  

We have had some terrible accidents throughout the City as of late so expect to see stepped-up enforcement not only in the Sunset but citywide.  

We had a bad accident on John Muir Drive recently where a mother and her daughter were hit by a car while crossing the street in a pedestrian crosswalk.  It is with a very heavy heart that I sadly report that the 14 year old girl did not survive the accident.  

I have been a police officer for more than 25 years and it always hits me hard when children are hurt. I have kids of my own and my mind always wanders to them. I feel deep sympathy for the loss of any child.  The officers from Taraval Station who were the first responders to the scene were also deeply affected.  I also feel bad for the driver as they did not mean for this to happen. Now they have to live with the tragic reality.  It is even hard for me to write this but I have to. If my message to the community saves a life, we all are better off.  I know in my last column I referenced the old saying of “it’s not worth it” if something happened while not driving safely or being distracted, but it really is true, so please take it to heart.

It’s a bit hard for me to transition out of my last message, but I do want to share more information with everyone, including our latest crime stats.  Taraval Station officers continue to do a good job in an effort to reduce home and auto burglaries.  Auto burglaries dropped from 161 in January to 123 in February, a 24 percent decrease, and down again to 80 in March, another 35 percent decrease.  Home burglaries dropped from 28 in January to 23 in February, a decrease of 18 percent. It dropped again from 23 in February to 19 in March, another 17 percent decrease. 

Taraval Station officers and the Taraval Neighborhood Team (TNT) continue to work with our burglary and robbery units.  They share information, work together, learn from each other to get better and they are making a difference.

In a recent joint operation between Taraval Station and Richmond Station, I loaned our TNT crew to work with Capt. Michelle Jeans’ plainclothes crew.  The joint operation was quickly on the trail of a trio of auto burglars and the team of officers effectively worked together. They displayed great teamwork and tenacity as they never lost the “eye” and observed the trio casing several vehicles and then they quickly hit and broke into a vehicle. The team was able to safely and stealthily follow the auto burglars and eventually conducted a traffic stop on the suspects.  The investigation discovered two youngsters, an 18 year-old and a 19 year old were driving around a 12 year old and sending him out to break into cars.  Can you believe it? Only 12 years old!  Wow that’s a new one on me.  We will see how this plays out in court.

As I close, I again have to go back to my message of safe driving.  I had a recent conversation with the president of the SF Board of Supervisors, Norman Yee. He said “we have to change our culture of driving too fast or distracted.”  I could not agree more. We need to focus more on personal safety and driving at a safe speed. Enforcement alone is not enough.

Go to the station’s website at Taraval.org for much more information. Follow Taraval Station on twitter at @SFPDTaraval for some really interesting tweets. If you’d like to subscribe to the station’s newsletter send an email to benny.lew@sfgov.org. 

Captain Nicholas Rainsford is the commanding officer at the Taraval Police Station.

Categories: Police Beat

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