Residents seek help from SFPD
Trouble at Parkmerced
••••••• February, 2024 •••••••
The complaints ranged from as many as ten squatters living rent-free, theft, casinos, dog kennels — with so many dogs — they have joined two apartments together, brothels and drug laboratories at Parkmerced. Waiting for the Lieutenant to show up at the Taraval Precinct meeting to discuss these difficulties were 12 residents of Parkmerced and Mike Farrah, Supervisor Melgar's Constituent Aid. Parkmerced management was invited but declined to attend
The main problem: as many as 21% of vacancies at Parkmerced. As many as 31% of Parkmerced residents are Section 8 tenants. This has been going on for several months. Residents complain that little or no vetting occurs when Section 8 tenants are selected. Word has gone out that illicit activity is allowed at Parkmerced, and those so inclined have moved in, increasing the problems.
One resident at the meeting complained that car theft used to be called Grand Theft Auto, which is not a minor offense. Someone else asked, doesn›t the owner of a stolen car deserve to have their vehicle returned to them?”
Auto theft was among the serious problems discussed. Residents complain those living under suspicious circumstances often have cars without license plates. Unmarked cars are frequently used to participate in crime. The police apologized, saying that cars without license plates have become a minor offense and that they do not warrant investigation. One resident at the meeting complained that car theft used to be called Grand Theft Auto, which is not a minor offense. Someone else asked, doesn't the owner of a stolen car deserve to have their vehicle returned to them?
Then, the subject of the dog kennel — so large it has spread over two garden apartments — and it might be an apartment occupied by a squatter. Asked to remove that elicit business, the police replied that it was not against the law. Residents were apparently misinformed that the offensive noise was a problem worthy of police involvement.
While people are asleep, thieves siphon gas from cars parked at Parkmerced — it appears to be an ongoing business. They sell it on the open market. With gas as expensive as $5 a gallon, thieves can easily generate $100 an evening. $100x30 days or a month can generate $3,000.
To compound the problem, there are two vehicle rental businesses in Parkmerced that refuse to lock their gas tanks. These tanks are sometimes at a higher elevation and they often containing considerable amounts of gasoline. An elevated tank makes gas easier to steal. Not locking the gas tanks encourages theft. While the owners of vehicles have been warned to lock their gas tanks, many prefer to ignore warnings.
According to neighbors, cars wait on Felix Avenue to see when the owners of vehicles are absent to steal gas when there is little fear of being apprehended. Gas from the rental cars and trucks is easy to steal.
One Parkmerced neighbor reported that this car was allegedly set on fire intentionally to punish a rival drug dealer living in Parkmerced. The next photo shows the damage to the street after the fire. Neighbors complain that police do not investigate drug houses despite the fact they can explode and set apartments on fire.
Neighbors report seeing women at 3:30 am bringing random items, that suspectedly have been stolen that day, into an apartment that is improperly habituated. According to police, the suspicions are unable to be investigated.
The Chronicle reported that a generous tech billionaire funded San Francisco SAFE (SF SAFE) with $2 million to purchase cameras and other security features for SF neighborhoods in order to discourage crime. Neighbors at Parkmerced have asked to use some of that funding to purchase cameras in their neighborhood. Numerous calls have been made to SF SAFE requesting information, especially regarding the cost of installation of cameras. Those phone calls were not returned. As a nonprofit community engagement arm of the SFPD, residents hoped SF SAFE would to be more proactive.
It is possible, as one neighbor suggested, that the City's agreement with Parkmerced management to house the Section 8 residents stipulates that the apartments are paid for upfront. There is no incentive to remove tenants who present problems for other tenants. Removing unwanted tenants means Parkmerced would have to refund rent to the City, diminishing Parkmerced's income. Problem tenets can linger longer because of a management's reluctance to return funds to the City.
Parkmerced could become far worse in the future when organized crime becomes aware of the opportunities there. Casinos, brothels and drugs are the main income of organized crime. When that happens, removing crime will become more difficult in Parkmerced.
According to the SFPD, the police department is understaffed and therefore unable to investigate proactively. That's why they are unable to go after crime in Parkmerced. Do we need more police officers?
Glenn Rogers, RLA
Landscape Architect / License 3223