An outline of the high crime on the first block of Turk Street in the Tenderloin and why it has happened and persists.
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TAKING BACK TURK STREET
ENDING HIGH CRIME ON THE FIRST BLOCK OF TURK
The first block of Turk Street (00-90), between Taylor and Mason, is in crisis. It has become an open-air drug market, rife with dealers coming from outside the Tenderloin to conduct business. Lower Turk’s problems negatively impact Mid-Market and the Tenderloin, two neighborhoods trying to revive after decades of decline. Residents and community groups have tried to reduce crime in lower Turk, and the local police leadership has been very supportive. But the Tenderloin Station police force has declined nearly 30% since 2009, almost four times the citywide drop.
How bad is the crime problem on the first block of Turk?
- Violent crime is 35 times higher than in the rest of the city, and eight times higher than in the Tenderloin at large.
- Overall crime is 17 times higher than in the rest of the city, and five times higher than in the Tenderloin at large.
- From November 21, 2010 through May 7, 2011, there were 248 crimes on a block populated by only 438 people.
- While the block is home to only 2% of the Tenderloin’s residents, it is the site of 11% of its crime and 17% of its violence.
- The block has a significantly higher crime rate than nearby blocks, such as 200 Eddy St., which has three and a half times less crime and five times less violent crime.
Why does this problem exist and why has it persisted?
- The liquor store on the block regularly violates city planning code regulations designed to mitigate the impact of liquor stores on the community.
- Activities are allowed on the first block of Turk that would be unacceptable in most other parts of the city. Former Police Chief and current District Attorney George Gascón confirmed this in a September 2009 news conference soon after taking over the SFPD.
“People are fed up… There are enough statutes in the books to clean this area up. I am not going to speak for the past… Whatever it used to be, let’s get used to the idea that it is no longer going to be that way.” Quoted by C.W. Nevius in “S.F. police chief’s first target:: Tenderloin,” in the San Francisco Chronicle, September 5, 2009.