San Francisco’s District Attorney blasted the “culture” of lawlessness in the city and around the country, during a public safety town hall.
City officials met with frustrated residents to discuss law enforcement’s plans to address the city’s crime, drug and homelessness problems during the Monday meeting. Residents aired their “disgust” with officials, on the lack of arrests for people who were openly drug dealing and under the influence on city streets, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
District Attorney Brooke Jenkins acknowledged the crowd’s concerns, and suggested the problem was criminals were not being held accountable in the city.
“Right now, we have a city that’s been lacking in accountability,” Jenkins told residents, who reportedly cheered in agreement. She argued San Francisco wasn’t the only place dealing with brazen retail theft.
“We have created a culture, not just in San Francisco but quite frankly around the country, that people (believe you can) walk into a store, take what you want and walk out, while the rest of us stand there waiting to pay,” Jenkins said.
Board of Supervisors member Matt Dorsey, City Attorney David Chiu, and San Francisco Police Capt. Luke Martin also fielded questions from around 200 members of the public, the report said.
Most at the meeting appeared to be on board with the officials’ proposals to increase police staffing and supported calls for tougher consequences for criminals. One member of the crowd was even reportedly booed after discounting the proposal for increased police in the city.
The District Attorney suggested to the crowd that the blame be laid on local judges who were impeding law enforcement’s efforts to keep repeat drug offenders in jail.
“You want to know why it still looks crazy out there despite the fact that police have arrested hundreds of drug dealers in the last year-plus?” Jenkins replied. “We have filed 200 motions to keep drug dealers in (jail) who are repeat offenders, are egregious sellers — 17 have been granted.”
In August, she claimed the courts were the “biggest barrier” to public safety in the city.
“We do everything we can and you can see the same person out on the street the same day,” she said at another public safety meeting, according to a report. “Repeat and chronic offenders are selling the most deadly substance we’ve seen in this city. That tells you something about what has been going on in the courtrooms of this city. The judges are not taking this seriously. The judges are ignoring it.”
The District Attorney’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Fed up residents in the city’s Mission District have resorted to putting up heavy sidewalk planters in efforts to deter homeless encampments.
San Francisco residents have described how the city’s inability to make their neighborhoods safe has left them, “hopeless and depressed.”
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the city had “more than 7,754 homeless people, with nearly 4,400 sleeping on the streets, in a tent or in a vehicle” in 2022.
Additionally, one third of the U.S.’s entire homeless population and half of all unsheltered homeless people live in California, according to estimates released at the end of 2022.
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