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Lombard Street Ambassador Program Aims to Make Area Safer

Program was in the works before recent shooting of a tourist from Thailand, city leaders say

San Francisco's famous crooked street is getting even more crowded, but visitors to Lombard Street don’t seem to mind.

The Lombard Street Ambassador Program started Saturday. It’s supposed to deter crime. Tourists say they love seeing the ambassadors. City leaders say it's exactly what is needed to keep everyone safe.

“What we’ve seen over the last few years is a massive, massive influx and increase in congestion and public safety issues,” said District 2 Supervisor Mark Farrell.

Tona Brown is one of three newly appointed ambassadors of the program. The goal is to keep tourists safe and protect residents’ property by essentially providing crowd control around San Francisco's busiest and most famous street.

“My hope is that this is a significant step in the right direction,” said Supervisor Mark Farrell, who secured funding for the program. “Will it cure everything? We will have to wait and see.

San Francisco police say vehicle thefts in this district have doubled in the last year.

Recently, one tourist was shot while taking pictures on Lombard Street. City leaders say the ambassador program was well in the works before that shooting, but they hope it deters any further violent crimes.

City leaders say there will be between two and four ambassadors in the area around Lombard Street seven days a week from noon to 7:30 p.m. They'll be there until Nov. 1 and then start up again in May when the tourists return to San Francisco.

The Chronicle reports the program costs $110,000 and will come out of the city budget.

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