Feeling threatened? Just call a Muni escort 

Twelve escorts in neon-yellow vests are waiting to accompany Bayview district and Visitacion Valley residents home from public transit hubs where crime is prevalent.

The “community ambassadors” are city employees on “safety teams” who will linger around Muni stations, carrying phones donated by AT&T. Their phone numbers will be released at a news conference today with police Chief George Gascón.

About 100 crimes a month, including stabbings and robberies, are committed on Muni buses or near bus stops. The pilot San Francisco Community Ambassadors Program is part of The City’s effort to help passengers feel comfortable.

Supervisor Carmen Chu said at a Public Safety Committee meeting this week that The City has been “working tirelessly” on the program and that it’s one among several plans to encourage people to take public transportation.

The Board of Supervisors voted 9-2 on Tuesday in favor of passing legislation to double criminal fines to $1,000 for aggressive pursuit and loitering while carrying concealed weapons at or around Muni stops. The final reading of the ordinance is scheduled for next week.

The ambassadors are funded through Jobs Now, a program that uses federal stimulus money to create work locally, and also private donors. There’s enough in the pot to employ them at least through September and possibly until January, police Sgt. Troy Dangerfield said.

“Funding is a huge part, and it ain’t cheap,” Dangerfield said.

The project was organized by community groups, the Police Department and the Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs, a division of the City Administrator’s Office.

“This is something that the community leaders and partners came up with and The City decided that it’s a good idea,” Dangerfield said.

The ambassadors will be introduced at 2:45 p.m. today at the news conference in the North East Medical Services Building, 2574 San Bruno Ave.


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Kamala Kelkar

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