Robbery streak an oddity 

A 29-year-old woman was listening to music while walking on a Hayes Valley street when two men in their 20s forced her up against a wall and aimed a gun at her when she did not give up her purse.

A few hours later, a man opening the gate to his Bayview home was robbed of cash by a gun-toting thief. Meanwhile, a woman across-town in the Richmond district was losing a cell-phone to armed bandits.

They are just some examples from a three-day reign of terror in The City last week in which at least 12 armed robberies occurred citywide — incidents that appeared to be random and unrelated, as the victims’ descriptions of the suspects did not indicate the incidents were related, the Police Department said.

The robberies involved both guns and knives, and the victims, some assaulted by the weapons during the crime, varied in age, race and gender. The hold-ups seemed to happen everywhere at any time, including the Inner Sunset, Outer Richmond, South of Market and Bayview neighborhoods. One happened in the Financial District.

Despite the high number and seeming randomness of the robberies, Police Chief George Gascón said Friday there is no reason for residents to feel less safe walking the streets, as The City is seeing a drop, not a rise, in crime.

“There have been approximately 1,600 robberies in The City in the first six months, but that still represents a [6 percent] reduction from last year,” Gascón said during a news conference in which he touted a drop in overall crime in the first half of 2010.

There were 18,096 violent crimes and property crimes between January and June, 10 percent less than last year and 20 percent fewer than in 2008, the chief said. The department has been using comprehensive computer software to map and analyze crimes so that it can better spot trends, Gascón said.

However, Gascón did not present a clear strategy for cracking down on random crime sprees akin to what happened last week. Police “will never eliminate all the robberies, it’s unrealistic,” he said.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

 

SF crime

Statistics from Jan. 1-June 30:

Type of crime   
2009
2010
Homicide
24   
25
Rape   
74   
80
Robbery   
1,693     1,592
Aggravated assault   
1,786
1,747
Burglary   
2,586   
2,443
Auto theft   
2,509   
1,739
Theft from vehicle   
5,302   
4,229
Arson   
93   
103
Domestic violence   
502   
434
Child abuse   
161   
137
Shots fired   
141   
115
Shooting victims   
127   
100
Arrests for violent crimes   
1,519   
1,308






Source: San Francisco Police Department

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