San Francisco residents have started hiring private security in recent weeks due to rising crime months after the city’s mayor announced millions of police department funding would be reallocated to benefit the black community.
According to a San Franciso CBS report last month, around 150 families in the Marina District have hired Patrol Special Officer Alan Byard to monitor their homes.
Earlier this year, San Francisco Police Department data showed burglaries had increased by a staggering 340 percent compared to last year, the Washington Examiner reported.
The jarring information came after San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced that $120 million would be taken from the police department over two years and used for the city’s black community as part of the city’s “Dream Keeper Initiative.”
The program is designed to invest in youth development, guaranteed income, business support, a city employment pipeline, and training and homeownership.
“We know that to actually see true lasting change we need to focus on helping entire families — from early education for kids, to job training and workforce support for their parents, and serve communities that have been systematically harmed by past policies,” Breed said in a February statement, according to Fox News.
That investment hasn’t helped the rising crime levels or residents’ increasing unease.
“We don’t feel safe in our neighborhood,” resident Katie Lyons told CBS. “And we have an alarm, we have cameras on our property, but we want the extra security of having someone have eyes on our place.”
Lyons said both home and auto burglaries are skyrocketing, forcing her to take matters into her own hands.
“Especially at night, I don’t walk with a purse, I’ll drive, or I’ll take an Uber, and it’s beginning to become a daytime problem too,” Lyons added.
Between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m., Byard said he makes rounds in the neighborhood to watch for suspicious activity. The security officer charges $65 per residence each month.
“It’s a nice area down here, people are afraid of what’s been going on,” said Byard. “They want a safe place to raise their kids. In the last year, I’ve had 10 of my clients move out of the city.”
Byard added that his residential clients have more than doubled since spring 2020, jumping from 70 to 150 in the Marina District alone. The biggest issue he faces is car burglaries, he said, as well as homeless people sleeping on his clients’ front steps. Theft and burglaries are also common, according to the private security officer.
Marina resident Allan Brown, who had lived in the area for two decades, confirmed that crime has gotten worse.
“Oh absolutely, absolutely. This place used to be – nothing would ever happen here,” he said.
As crime continues to rise across the California city, Walgreens announced last month that at least five branches in San Francisco would be closing due to theft and organized retail crime.