Police Blotter – May 4, 2017

May 4th, 2017
Volume 1, Issue 7

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The last couple weeks have been busy for us here in the Richmond. April 29th was Dutch King’s Day in the Golden Gate Park at the Murphy Windmill and it was a huge success! With summer on the horizon, things will only ramp up around the Richmond District with all the events in the next couple months.

In addition to visiting the local merchants and restaurants on a daily basis, I have also been able to meet with some Neighborhood Watch Groups and concerned residents from the 25th Avenue corridor. As I have listened at these meetings I noticed a common concern – Traffic Safety and Pedestrian Safety. The Richmond is filled with dog walkers, elderly residents taking a stroll, joggers taking their morning or evening run, and moms walking their kids to a local park or just to get out of the house for some fresh air. It’s difficult to hear and see that our drivers and bicyclists commuting through the district are not obeying the traffic laws or respecting the people that live here by following the basic rules of the road. Unfortunately this is a country wide issue – Jan-Jun 2015 there were 19,000 traffic fatalities and nearly 2.3 million “serious injuries” which required medical consultation (Source: newsweek.com); these numbers are chilling!

I encourage pedestrians to stay alert and avoid distractions. Never assume a driver will give you the right of way, and try to make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street. Walk on the sidewalks whenever possible, and try to use the crosswalks when crossing the street. Do what you can to remain safe and help us all achieve the goals of Vision Zero.

On a side note: I would like to write a disclaimer about my newsletter. I try to include ALL the crime that happens in the district for the week. Sometimes, there are late reports or the crime is not appropriate due to the sensitivity to put out in a newsletter to the community.
However, I am trying to keep my newsletter as honest and informative as I can. I encourage everyone to write to me about your concerns about your neighborhood and give myself and the Richmond Officer’s some time to correct the problem and address the issues. If you are unhappy with our policing services or you have concerns and think we could improve, I ask that you share those with me as well. Thank you again for your continued support in making Richmond District a safe place to live.

Your Captain,
Alexa O’Brien

The next Community Meeting will be held on TUESDAY, MAY 16TH 2017 AT 6:00 PM. It will be held at Richmond police station: 461 6TH AVENUE, SAN FRANCISCO CA 94118 in the community room.

GUEST: Mr. Mohammed Nuru from the Department of Public Works will be at the meeting to discuss Prop. E, which passed and becomes effective July 1st, 2017. Prop. E transfers responsibility for trees and sidewalk repairs from the property owner to the City. If you have questions, this is a great opportunity to ask them!

Anza Street & 19th Avenue
04/27/2017 12:43 AM
Riding a bicycle on the sidewalk is a violation of section 7.2.12 of the Transportation Code. When two diligent Richmond District officers observed this violation, they decided to stop the subject to issue him a citation. This ordinary police encounter was about to evolve into a great arrest.

Before the officers were able to contact the subject, they observed him looking into parked vehicles using a flashlight. They stopped the subject and got his identification in order to run a criminal history check. The results showed that the subject was on probation for a burglary charge, despite him repeatedly denying he was currently on probation. As a result of his probation status, the officers conducted a search of the back-pack he was carrying. The search resulted in them finding tools commonly used by burglary suspects, including a pry bar and pliers. Narcotics paraphernalia was also located among the subjects belongings.

Needless to say, the suspect was arrested and charged with possession of burglary tools. His probation status was also revoked as a result of this arrest. This suspect was undoubtedly prevented from victimizing Richmond District residents thanks to these hard-working officers.

Palm Avenue & California Street
04/27/2017 3:00 AM
There was a report of an auto burglary in the early morning hours in the Richmond District. A witness to the incident provided a detailed description of the suspect. Officers quickly responded to the scene, but the suspect had fled the scene prior to their arrival. It appeared that the suspect was going to have the last laugh when officers were unable to locate him.

However, when the suspect re-turned to the scene of the crime (approximately and hour and a half later) to finish the job he had started, police once again responded to the incident. The suspect was able to leave the scene prior to police arriving, but he did not get far. Two Richmond mid-nights officers located the suspect, who was walking his bicycle approximately a block from the auto burglary.

The suspect provided false identification to the officers who detained him. Regardless, the officers continued with their investigation. The suspect was positively identified by the witness as the suspect who had broken into the vehicle. Once under arrest, the suspect’s property was searched. During the search the officers located fragments of porcelain from spark plugs, which is a common tool used in auto burglaries. They also located property that they suspected did not belong to the suspect, including several keys to high-end vehicles. Realizing that his game was up, the suspect provided his real name to the officers.
The victim of the auto burglary was able to confirm that the property found on the suspect belonged to her. In addition, it turned out that the suspect had recently been released for the same offense in the Richmond District. This suspect was booked at County Jail on several felony offenses.

Geary Boulevard & 3rd Avenue
04/28/2017 12:50 AM
Richmond District officers re-sponded to a fight involving a large crowd on Geary Blvd. When the officers arrived at the location, the fight was over and the crowds were dispersing. Officers were approached by a female victim who claimed her purse had been stolen. The victim pointed to a large crowd and claimed the suspect was amongst them.

When additional Richmond Officers responded to the scene to search for suspects, they located a male subject who appeared to be starting fights on Clement St. Officers intervened and broke up the fight, when suddenly the subject turned his aggression onto the officers. Due to his belligerent and uncooperative nature, and the aggressive fighting stance he took toward the officers who were on scene, the officers utilized pepper spray to deescalate the situation.

The pepper spray was effective, and the subject was detained without serious injury. Interestingly, it was discovered that the subject was trying to help the initial robbery victim retrieve her purse. For whatever reason, he decided to be a hindrance to the police investigation which could have resulted in the suspect being identified and arrested.
The subject was medically treated for the pepper spray deployment, cited for delaying a police investigation, and released.

34th Avenue & El Camino Del Mar
04/29/2017 11:15 PM
A group of 20-30 cars congregated in the Legion of Honor parking lot to participate in a ‘sideshow.’ A 911 call was made to report their reckless and illegal driving, and officers responded to the scene.

When the first solo officer arrived on scene, he observed a vehicle doing ‘donuts’ in the parking lot. The officer activated his lights and siren to stop the vehicle. The driver of the vehicle had other ideas, and instead of yielding he attempted to drive away from the scene. The suspect was unsuccessful in his efforts and lost control of his vehicle, resulting in him driving off the road and coming to a stop. The officer, who was still alone at the scene, instructed the driver to exit his vehicle. As he was doing so a large number of vehicles drove past him, speeding and revving their engines. The officer then heard 5-6 gunshots coming from the vicinity of the fleeing vehicles. The officer took cover and back-up soon arrived on scene.

Although the majority of the vehicles fled the scene, several remained at the Legion of Honor. The investigation could not prove any have been involved in the sideshow. Officers located 5 spent bullet casings at the scene. It is unknown in which direction the rounds were fired. Luckily there were no reported injuries as a result of the incident.

The driver who failed to yield to the officer was cited at the scene. His vehicle was towed and impounded. He had prior arrests for evading.

Officer Lau is a probationary officer at Richmond Station. He has been a police officer for almost 6 months. He is currently assigned to the day watch.

Officer Lau was born and raised in San Francisco. As a child, he attended Galileo High School.
Prior to being a police officer, Officer Lau worked in an administrative position for the Department of Public Health.

He decided to take a career in law enforcement because it is as an excellent opportunity to give back to the community.

When not at work, Officer Lau enjoys hanging out with his friends and family. He is also a huge fan of Disney movies, and enjoys taking regular trips to Disneyland.

OFFICER LAU’S TIP OF THE WEEK: “Register your bicycle’s serial number with SF Safe. Bicycles are frequently stolen in San Francisco. It is important to be able to identify a stolen bicycle; not only to prove that the bicycle is stolen, but also to return the bicycle to it’s rightful owner.”


  1. Regarding the car burglar, it is common for them to break a window and leave the scene, then return later. The reason is that if they are caught breaking the window, its just vandalism and if they are caught later stealing from an open vehicle, they can claim to not have been the one to break the window, thus lessening the charge in either case. Obviously, if a witness can identify that the same person broke a window and then later stole items, this strategy does not work, but its a common tactic and helps them to avoid the more serious charges. .

  2. If possible, the area and/or the building itself should have better CCTV (or cameras); I recall hearing too often about malicious acts, such as harming the swans.

    I’m surprised it doesn’t already exist, or even late night security guards, since even MUNI has stepped up its game with tech, and can issue tickets just for being caught parking in a bus stop by their HD cameras. I suppose the issue is always money, but more security would make sense.

  3. an inexpensive, quick-to-implement, and high-impact improvement for traffic calming, and pedestrian safety along 25th avenue would be for our police captain to spearhead an effort with the city bureaucracy to have the city make “no right turn on red light” between Lake street and Fulton street on 25th ave.

    Captain O’Brien, could you take some action to help protect us in this way?

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