SFPD: Park crimes a flash in the pan

Recent violent crimes in and around Golden Gate Park are “aberrations” to regular activity and have not spurred any additional patrols, according to the San Francisco Police Department.

The most recent event — a nonfatal shooting Monday night near 25th Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive — is just the latest in a handful of violent incidents that have left two homeless men dead and at least two other men with bulletwounds since the beginning of September.

The events are being investigated, and are considered unrelated, according to police.

Officer Les Tom, of the Richmond police station, said that while an increase in activity might alter patrols, the latest incidents are anomalies to the regular activity in the park.

“There’s nothing that’s caused any of the bosses to change the patrol,” Tom said.

While the violent activity has taken place in the western and central portion of the park patrolled by Richmond station officers, Capt. John Ehrlich of the Park station, which covers the eastern portion of the 1,000-acre park, agreed that the incident was an “aberration.”

On Monday night, police officers found a 30-year-old black male standing in the park near Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and 25th Avenue with a bullet wound in his shoulder, Sgt. Steve Mannina said.

The victim, a city resident, was “uncooperative” with police, Mannina said, and was taken to San Francisco General Hospital with a wound that was not life-threatening. No arrests have been made, Mannina said.

In response to the recent crime, the Recreation and Park Department has put its roughly 100 employees in Golden Gate Park “on notice” for suspicious activity as the department waits for 12 new park patrols to finish training, said spokesperson Rose Dennis.

The department expects the new patrols to join the six patrols already covering The City’s more than 200 parks by the end of this year at the latest, Dennis said.

Two park patrols work at night primarily focusing on Golden Gate Park, but it has yet to be determined whether the number of patrols scheduled for the night shift would increase, Dennis said.

She also said the patrols were “departmentwide” and would not be limited to patrolling Golden Gate Park.

dsmith@examiner.com

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