San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced a new public safety strategy on Tuesday, calling for a "tough love" approach to the city's Tenderloin neighborhood.
"It's time that the reign of criminals who are destroying our city, it is time for it to come to an end," Breed, flanked by San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott, told a bank of news cameras and reporters on the balcony of City Hall. "It comes to an end when we take the steps to be more aggressive with law enforcement, more aggressive with the changes in our policies and less tolerant of all the bulls— that has destroyed our city."
The mayor paraphrased a statement she made just a few months earlier, when her rhetoric began to shift away from championing policing alternatives and criminal justice reforms, as the prevalence of property crime in the city drew increased attention: "Our compassion should not be mistaken for weakness or indifference," Breed reiterated on Tuesday.
"What I'm proposing today and what I will be proposing in the future will make a lot of people uncomfortable," she said. "And I don't care. At the end of the day, the safety of the people of San Francisco is the most important thing to me, and we are past the point where what we see is even remotely acceptable."
The San Francisco Police Department has been vague about the costs of stepped-up enforcement in Union Square, the shopping and tourist destination neighboring the Tenderloin that was the target of an organized mass shoplifting operation last month, an incident that garnered national headlines — much to the consternation of city leaders. A surge of cops in the area since then has driven down thefts some 80%, according to SFPD, and racked up some 8,000 hours in officer overtime.