SF District Attorney’s Office Awarded $1 Million Federal Grant to Reduce Crime in Eastern Bayview

September 23, 2013

CONTACT: Stephanie Ong Stillman, DA Gascón’s Office, (415) 553-1167 of (415) 740-5134
ADA Alex Bastian, DA Gascón’s Office, (415) 553-1931

SAN FRANCISO – District Attorney George Gascón was joined by Supervisor Malia Cohen, Suzy Loftus of the Center for Youth Wellness, community leaders and advocates at the Bayview Opera House today to announce a $1 million Department of Justice grant awarded to the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office. The resources will be used to address neighborhood level crime in the Eastern Bayview. San Francisco is one of ten cities nationwide to receive the grant through the Bureau of Justice Assistance Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation program.

“We know that the cycle of victimization is such that today’s victim could be tomorrow’s offender,” said District Attorney George Gascón. “Through this grant, San Francisco will test the theory that crime 0reduction can occur by helping victims heal and by bringing neighbors together. We are safer together when we stop the cycle of victimization and work to rebuild lives by promoting active community engagement in public safety.”

“There is an overwhelming need for services for trauma exposed and crime victims in the Bayview-Hunters Point community,” said Supervisor Malia Cohen, who represents southeast San Francisco. “This grant will help support the other neighborhood revitalization programs also taking place in our neighborhood. I look forward to seeing how this grant will build upon the success of these existing investments and the positive impacts it will bring to our community.”

According to the San Francisco Police Department and the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, violent crime such as assault, robbery, rape, and homicide in the Eastern Bayview is approximately 3 times higher than citywide rates. Data shows Eastern Bayview has the highest concentrations of public and subsidized rental housing in the city with 55% of the households with children under the age of 18. Resident exposure to community violence is estimated to be 4 times higher than the citywide rate. By age 17, over 70% of African-American youth in Eastern Bayview have been referred to the juvenile justice system. Approximately 15% of the Adult Probation Department’s current active probationers live in 94124. Residents have easy access to drugs and the area has the City’s highest rate of alcohol and drug abuse.

The San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, along with city agencies and community partners, will work to address the impact of crime on its victims, families, neighbors and community members. The scope of the project will address the impact of victimization on future crimes. Research has shown that the impact of victimization on victims, their families, neighbors and community members who witness a crime is significant. Repeat victimization leads to future offending and back to victimization. Children who have been victims of abuse and neglect are more likely to commit delinquent and criminal acts. Approximately 90% of assault victims between 15 and 30 years old who were admitted to San Francisco General Hospital for their injuries have a prior history of criminal activity.

Crime victims experience higher levels of major depression, substance abuse, isolation, and poor performance at school or work. In January 2013, the City released a Public Health Community Action Plan based upon interviews, focus groups, facilitated discussion and survey responses of over 400 Bayview residents. The top two community goals that emerged were to address the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder among children, youth and families and to reduce violence in the community.

Through this three-year grant, the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, with the help of city agencies and community partners will address the specific issue of victimization in the Eastern Bayview through prevention, intervention, treatment and strategic enforcement. The project aims to improve services for victims of crime such as trauma-exposed children and youth and underserved adult crime victims by providing crime victims with community-based access to the District Attorney’s Victim Services Division. It will also develop a protocol for accessing State Victim Compensation Funds for child victims of community violence, and establishing a limited neighborhood victim compensation fund to cover services for individuals who are ineligible for State Victim Compensation Funds.

The project also aims to prevent crime and respond to victimization by increasing neighborhood engagement and community building by implementing a community-driven Neighborhood Prosecutor model to engage stakeholders to collaborate with law enforcement.

The project will begin with a 12 month planning process, as required by the Department of Justice. The District Attorney’s Office will lead the “Safer Together Consortium” to bring in all appropriate stakeholders and work with a research team to conduct a needs assessment.