San Francisco businesses warned about crime ahead of Chinese New Year 

Businesses in the San Francisco Bayview district were warned Thursday that they should report crimes to the Police Department during Chinese New Year celebrations next month.

"The only way we can ensure a safe community is for everyone to have thorough conversations," District 10 Supervisor Malia Cohen said.

San Francisco politicians at the event wished everyone a happy and safe Chinese New Year, or lunar New Year, which begins Feb. 3. The holiday is expected to attract many shoppers and potentially criminals to city streets, authorities said.

With that in mind, Chinese-owned businesses were given a small bundle of papers — written both in English and Chinese — advising employees of how to report a crime.

Language barriers were a key theme in every speaker's note to attendees of a morning news conference on San Bruno Avenue, which preceded the handing out of papers.

"It's important that our small-business owners feel safe and know of the strong support network that we have in San Francisco," Cohen said.  "It's important to keep the lines of communication open."

This marks the 14th year that public servants have partnered with Safety Awareness For Everyone, or SAFE, a community crime prevention and safety program.

"Although some crime rates have gone down during our annual campaign, some crimes are still prevalent," SAFE Executive Director Cindy Brandon said.

She said robberies, burglaries, fraud and scams are among the most-reported crimes during this time of the year.

Merchants are reminded to keep pallets, boxes, crates, and company cars away from windows and walls by at least 8 feet to keep burglars from punching holes in walls without detection.

Businesses should also maintain good visibility to all entrances, exits and other places to get indoors.

But most importantly, Brandon echoed emphasized how important it is to report a crime.

"If you don't report the crime, we can't help you. It makes our jobs more difficult," she said.

Anyone wishing to report anonymous tips can call (415) 553-8090 or the San Francisco Police Department's Confidential Tip line at (415) 575-4444. In addition, anyone with questions about extortion can call the police gang task force unit at (415) 553-1401.

The Bayview event is the second such gathering to warn about Chinese New Year.

A group of officials, including District Attorney George Gascon, acting police Chief Jeff Godown, Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, Supervisor Carmen Chu, and state Sen. Leland Yee went up and down Grant
Street in Chinatown on Wednesday afternoon to hand out fliers to business owners.

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