The Police Department plans to officially open a substation today on Sixth Street, in a rough corridor in the heart of The City’s burgeoning tech hub.
For years, the substation was envisioned as a way to help combat crime and turn around the mid-Market Street neighborhood. The opening delivers on a promise from The City first made to those living along Sixth Street, many in low-income single-occupancy room hotels. And later, the promise was made to business owners to allay their concerns about crime when San Francisco enacted a mid-Market tax break to inject commercial activity into the area and ensure Twitter moved in as an anchor tenant.
Mayor Ed Lee is calling the substation, located in the Baldwin House at 72 Sixth St., a “Central Market Safety Hub.” The SFPD has added eight additional officers to the 16 patrolling Market Street between Fifth and Eighth streets. Currently, these officers need to return to the nearest police stations, Southern or Tenderloin, for basic police work, but will now use the substation and thus keep more cops in the area.
The space also will be used for other purposes, including by homeless outreach workers and for community meetings. It is not a conventional police station and will not have, for example, an officer staffing a counter.
Lee said the hub is “addressing safety head on,” but that The City needs to “continue to keep our eye on the prize, and that is to activate these spaces with good activity and create opportunities and provide needed services to people up and down Market Street.”
Supervisor Jane Kim, whose district includes the area, said she is a “big supporter” of the substation and believes it will bring relief to residents who have long complained of harassment and intimidation on the streets.
“The low-level drug dealing we see on Sixth Street is unacceptable,” Kim said.
In May 2012, the Board of Supervisors approved a nine-year lease totaling $297,355 in rent.