DA’s office beefs up anti-violence efforts

As San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors put the finishing touches on next year’s budget Thursday, the number of homicides during fiscal year 2005-06 hovered at 100 — an increase of 22 from the previous fiscal year.

The end of the financial year, which runs from July 1, 2005 until June 30, 2006, coincides with an especially bloody week in The City.

On Wednesday, the 43rd homicide of this calendar year occurredin the Ingleside district. On Tuesday, a 16-year-old boy was shot at a bus stop after attending summer school classes at Mission High School. On Monday, three masked men shot and killed a man in his Potrero Hill

apartment.

San Francisco experienced its highest rate in a decade in 2005, with 96 homicides. That total came on the heels of another bloody year in 2004, when The City recorded 88 homicides.

At a news conference, Mayor Gavin Newsom and District Attorney Kamala Harris called attention to The City’s rising rate of gun violence. Newsom said The City is increasing funding to the district attorney’s office in order to add staff to the office’s witness protection and gun violence units.

The district attorney’s office established its gun specialist team in 2004. Harris noted that guns were used in 85 percent of homicides last year, up from approximately 60 percent in 2001.

Newsom’s office also touted its anti-violence measures in a document titled “SF Safe Summer 2006,” which summarizes The City’s social and environmental services surrounding violence prevention.

The document outlines opportunities for summer employment and addiction services, as well as areas of focus for the departments of police, sheriff and public health.

But community activist Sharon Hewitt, director of the anti-violence group Community Leadership Academy Emergency Response Thursday called on the city to go further. She urged Newsom to produce an anti-violence plan “not driven by suppression,” or law enforcement, but rather by addressing the root causes of violence through providing resources to underserved communities.

She said the solution to the problem of violence requires “heightened civic engagement and accountability,” as well as law enforcement.

Earlier this month, voters narrowly rejected Proposition A, which Hewitt co-authored. That bill would have earmarked $10 million in city money to social services meant to address the root causes of homicides.

amartin@examiner.com

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