Bernal Heights community concerned about uptick in armed muggings 

click to enlarge A wave of muggings in Bernal Heights has residents and police on the lookout for anything suspicious. - MIKE KOOZMIN/THE S.F. EXAMINER
  • Mike Koozmin/The S.F. Examiner
  • A wave of muggings in Bernal Heights has residents and police on the lookout for anything suspicious.

The Bernal Heights community has rallied around a recent spate of brazen armed muggings near the Cortland Avenue corridor.

Sophie Fried, an employee at Sandbox Bakery, said police officers who regularly come into her shop recently warned her about the gun-toting bandits who are striking during the early evening hours on well-lit blocks.

The 25-year-old Fried both lives and works on Cortland Avenue, and she said a neighbor told her about a recent attack.

“It’s terrible,” Fried said. “I’m afraid to walk around at eight at night.”

A report about the apparent crime wave on the neighborhood blog Bernalwood has drawn more than 100 comments. Several posts described recent attacks.

One commenter recalled his girlfriend’s frightening ordeal last week on Andover Street between Cortland Avenue and Ellert Street. He said the goons “ran across the street with the gun already out” and told his girlfriend to give them everything she had. After she dropped her belongings, the thugs gave her “four seconds to run.”

“She was in the most well-lit spot of the block,” the commenter said.

Some commenters believe one particularly gutsy crew is responsible for the robberies. Others countered that Bernal Heights has always been a gritty neighborhood where crimes occur.

Even so, neighbors are rallying for solutions, said Bernalwood writer Todd Lappin. The mugging incidents, coupled with an arson fire at a local art gallery, have doubled daily traffic on his blog, Lappin said.

In response to the muggings, the Cortland Avenue-based Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center has planned a community safety forum at 6 tonight to address the crimes. The meeting will be held at the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center at 515 Cortland Ave.

Attendees listed on a flier reportedly include Ingleside Police Station Capt. Tim Falvey; supervisors David Campos, John Avalos and Scott Weiner; and Diana Olive-Aroche, the director of the mayor’s violence prevention services.

“The crimes have happened in areas where there is typically a fair amount of foot traffic, and during the early evening hours, making them bold moves,” said Rachel Ebora, the center’s executive director.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

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