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San Francisco leaders joined forces in Chinatown Monday to announce a plans to protect people in highly visited tourist areas by deploying additional police officers.

Mayor London Breed and Police Chief Bill Scott said the Tourism Deployment Plan will spread out 26 additional officers on foot and bikes in all 10 police districts.

At a press conference held in front of the Chinatown’s Dragon’s Gate entrance, the mayor said:

“We have work to do to make sure that when people come to San Francisco and they visit our museums and they shop and they go to our restaurants and they go to see Hamiliton at The Orpheum, that they feel safe.”

She added that visitors should not have to worry about having vehicles broken into, being attacked and robbed, or witnessing crimes.

Fourteen of the 26 additional officers will be positioned in the Central Police District, which covers many of The City’s most popular tourist attractions, including Union Square, Market Street, Chinatown, Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf and North Beach.

The Northern Police District will staff six additional officers to cover Alamo Square, Japantown and The Palace of Fine Arts, which Scott said is a known hotspot for car break-ins. He said:

“A word to people that are breaking into cars around the Palace of Fine Arts — we will be there and you will be caught.”

Jerold Chinn/SFBay San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott unveils a plan to deploy more police officers in highly visited tourist areas in order to keep visitors safe. Scott was joined by Mayor London Breed at a press conference in San Francisco, Calif. on Monday, July 19, 2021. (Jerold Chinn/SFBay)

The Mission, Park and Richmond police districts will each receive two additional officers to help patrol the Castro, Upper Market, Haight Street commercial corridor and Golden Gate Park.

Given tax revenue and employment opportunities tourism normally generates, the industry will play a key role in rebuilding The City’s economy. San Francisco Travel Association President Joe D’Alessandro said:

“Due to the devastating impacts of Covid-19, we saw a decrease of 60 percent of visitation and 77 percent decrease in economic activity and a 76 percent decrease in the workforce because of the pandemic.”

The travel association reported in March that visitors spent $2.3 billion in 2020, down from $10.3 billion in 2019. They do not expect a pre-pandemic level of visitors until 2023.

D’Alessandro added that the recovery will be “slow and painful,” but said ensuring tourists’ safety will help that process move in the right direction.

He said:

“The number one thing that a visitor wants to feel when they go to a destination is safety and security. This will enable us to make visitors feel more safe and tell the world that San Francisco takes this seriously.”

Jerold Chinn
Jerold Chinn is the San Francisco Bureau Chief of SFBay and covers transportation and City Hall. He has spent a decade covering transportation in San Francisco. Jerold is a San Francisco native and frequently takes public transit everywhere he goes. Follow Jerold on Twitter @jerold_chinn. Email tips to jerold@sfbay.ca.

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