Police Beat

‘Police Beat’: Richmond Station Captain Chris Canning

Captain Chris Canning

We all know there is something special about the Richmond District. There isn’t a type of food, place to visit, or activity that can’t be found here. I couldn’t have been more pleased when I was fortunate enough to be assigned as the SFPD Richmond Station captain in October 2022. 

The SFPD Richmond Police District contains various neighborhoods, including the Inner and Outer Richmond, the western part of Pacific Heights, Presidio Heights, Laurel Village and Laurel Heights, Seacliff and the majority of Golden Gate Park. There are more than 60,000 residents, spectacular merchant corridors and millions of visitors annually. A little more than 50 officers work at Richmond Station, in addition to almost 20 sergeants and lieutenants (supervisors and managers), police service aides, professional staff and a captain. Richmond Station is proud to have several members who speak a language other than English, including Cantonese, Russian and Spanish.

On average, your Richmond Station officers receive between 120-200 dispatches per day. While not every dispatch leads to an incident report or an arrest, crime data is evaluated regularly and influences where officers are assigned for their shifts. Additionally, officers are expected to respond to spontaneous and planned events, support strategic enforcement plans, attend court when subpoenaed to testify, participate in community engagement activities and maximize visibility in their patrols. 

However, like many urban areas, the Richmond District faces challenges with crime, including vehicle burglaries, catalytic converter thefts, graffiti, traffic violations and shoplifting. Since I arrived in the neighborhood, it has become incredibly clear to me that residents care deeply about public safety and have a reasonable expectation that their police officers address issues quickly and efficiently. Positive law enforcement strategies can help reduce these issues and keep the Richmond District a safe and welcoming community.

Vehicle Burglaries: Vehicle burglaries are sadly one of the most common crimes in the Richmond District, with thieves targeting cars parked on the street. To combat this issue, the SFPD has implemented several strategies, including increased visibility in high-risk areas, leveraging surveillance cameras and community outreach programs that encourage residents to report suspicious activity.

Catalytic Converter Thefts: Catalytic converter thefts have become a growing problem in the Richmond District and other urban areas. Thieves target these catalytic converters because they contain precious metals that can be sold for a high price. These crimes typically occur during nighttime hours. Increased patrols in areas where catalytic converter thefts have occurred minimize opportunities that criminals exploit.

Graffiti: Graffiti damages property, detracts from the beauty of the Richmond and burdens victims with cleaning expenses. Your Richmond officers have been engaged in ongoing graffiti abatement operations while coordinating increased visibility in high-risk areas. While there has been an increase in graffiti-related arrests since the beginning of the operations, there is still more work to do. Community members can also play a role in reducing graffiti by reporting any instances they witness to law enforcement.

Traffic Enforcement: Traffic violations can be a major problem with drivers speeding, running red lights and failing to yield to pedestrians and cyclists. These violations can lead to serious accidents and injuries. To address this issue, Richmond officers coordinate with the SFPD Traffic Company to optimize traffic enforcement in prioritized areas. Increasing visibility during patrols can also be an effective deterrent to minimize traffic violations.

Shoplifting: Shoplifting harms our economy and makes the neighborhood less attractive to visitors. To combat this problem, Richmond Station works with local businesses to implement security measures such as surveillance cameras, increased lighting and training for employees on how to identify and prevent shoplifting. Your officers also increase patrols and visibility in commercial corridors. Community members can play a role in reducing shoplifting by reporting any suspicious activity they witness in or around stores.

While our neighborhood faces its share of crime-related challenges, the Richmond District continues to thrive as a vibrant, diverse neighborhood. With the help of positive public safety strategies, these issues can be addressed and reduced. Residents, neighborhood merchants, community groups and Richmond Station working together can create a safer and more welcoming environment for everyone in the Richmond District.

Our officers are here to serve the neighborhood. You can reach Richmond Station at 415-666-8000 or by email at sfpdrichmondstation@sfgov.org. In order to request a police response, please call SFPD dispatch at 9-1-1 for emergencies and 415-553-0123 for non-emergencies.

General SFPD Richmond Station information can be found by visiting the following website: https://www.sanfranciscopolice.org/stations/richmond-station.

Captain Chris Canning was born in San Francisco, raised in the North Bay Area and is a second-generation San Francisco police officer. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Brigham Young University and, prior to joining the San Francisco Police Department, was a police officer in the Salt Lake City Police Department for three years. After graduating from the San Francisco Police Academy in 2007, Captain Canning worked as a patrol officer serving the Tenderloin, Mission and Southern Police districts. In his role as a sergeant, he worked in the Mission Police District, the Criminal Investigations Unit and the Homicide Detail. In 2017 he was promoted to lieutenant and returned to the Mission Police District before being transferred to the Crime Strategies Division. In 2021 he was promoted to captain and became the commanding officer of Tenderloin Police Station until October 2022 where he became commanding officer of Richmond Station.

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