The San Francisco Police Department brought together officers who walk a beat with the people they are sworn to serve and protect to discuss what’s getting better and what isn’t.
The program aims to make the streets safer for everyone, starting with foot patrol officers becoming more familiar with the people who work in the businesses on their beats to not only identify the biggest problems, but also to find solutions.
Workers said the meetings are critical as they face everything from grab-and-run robberies to people coming in and harassing workers and customers.
Officer Steve Hom on Thursday made his way down Union Street, popping in and out shops.
"I've been trying to keep on top of people hanging out in your doorway," he told one store clerk at the Sunglasses Hut.
The clerk, Basheer Dalil, thinks foot patrols have helped with a real problem.
"It kind of like dissuades people who want to come in and like grab-and-go," Dalil said.
Hom patrols out of the city's Northern Station, under Capt. Joseph Engler, who says much of the challenge is quality of life issues, strategies for homelessness and opioid addiction. He believes foot beats are helping.
"We have dedicated 21 officers to our foot beat program," Engler said. "And it's very, very simple: If I have commercial corridor, I put officers on it now, each officer works a 40-hour work week, so I cant cover everywhere."
Kyra Worthy, who works with SF Safe ,the department's nonprofit arm that helps with crime prevention, says a few changes are underway.
"Now it’s a more dedicated assignment, and each foot beat officer is assigned the sector that their working," Worthy explained. "And there is a leader on the block with the merchant."
At Just Jewels, workers said knowing their beat officer does make a difference. They keep a phone number behind the counter.