If cost of policing is any indication, the Occupy SF movement is small potatoes compared to the flagship Occupy Wall Street demonstrations in New York City.
San Francisco police say that as of Wednesday, $70,000 has been spent to survey, escort and regulate the camp of the local demonstration that has taken root on the sidewalk outside the Federal Reserve Bank on Market Street. The New York Police Department on Thursday announced a heftier figure for similar activities there — $2 million.
San Francisco police spokesman Officer Carlos Manfredi said 70 percent of the local cost came from officers’ regular on-duty pay, and the rest resulted from overtime. Police on motorcycles and dirt bikes were out in force escorting marchers last week during a protest around The City that spanned five miles and drew several hundred people.
Several dozen police were on duty late into the night Oct. 5 shortly before officers and Department of Public Works employees confiscated tents, cooking equipment and other items. While San Francisco demonstrators have established the sidewalk space as their base, they aren’t being permitted to pitch tents or have cooking with open flames without permits.
In downtown New York, a semi-permanent camp has been set up at Zuccotti Park, around the corner from the Wall Street institutions that are the target of the movement’s anger. While the exact goal of the group has been undefined, it generally takes issue with income disparity in the U.S. and the influence of banks and corporations on politics.
Although the demonstrations in both cities began Sept. 17, San Francisco’s kicked off in earnest in early October.