Union square

San Francisco police chief says extra patrols in Union Square are working, but strain an understaffed department

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — San Francisco Police Chief William Scott said increased patrols around Union Square are forcing many of his officers to work overtime. He says his staff is greatly reduced.

“More than 8,000 overtime hours were used in this operation,” he said. “If we had the right number of officers, it would be much easier to just redeploy service resources.”

He says he has almost 500 fewer officers than normal. However, with the increase in crime in November, he says he needs to do what he can to make the area safer.

According to SFPD, the increased patrol is working. The department says all forms of crime are down nearly 85% around Union Square.

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This is compared to the crime that happened before the November 19 mass robbery incident.

“We’ve seen a significant drop in crime overall,” he said. “I’m talking about theft to car break-ins, to burglaries.”

He says they plan to keep the same patrols throughout the holiday shopping season. When it comes to cutting overtime, he says he just needs more staff.

“We want people to work for SFPD,” he said. “It would be great to deploy more officers to help with these patrols. When you’re almost 500 officers short and that number keeps growing, you can’t do it.”

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