San Francisco supervisor introduces 5-point plan on Lunar New Year safety

The Lunar New Year is here, and a new series of initiatives are underway in San Francisco's Sunset District aimed at ensuring the safety of the community and Asian American residents. 

The aim is to get the community involved in keeping everyone safe. District 4 Supervisor Gordon Mar has a new five-point plan aimed at protecting the community.

Community members in San Francisco's Sunset District say they've seen an increase in crime in their neighborhood. Bill Barnickel from the Irving Street Merchants Association says he's been here for about 40 years and says the list of crimes in the area keeps growing. 

"We've had a lot of burglaries, robberies," said Barnickel. "That's pretty customary. In the last two months we've had arson right down here at the flower shop. We've had two assaults, the tree burned down, the person at the produce market assaulted three weeks ago."

Now Supervisor Mar has proposed a series of initiatives aimed at curbing crime. Mostly by welcoming the community ambassador program, with their highly visible fluorescent jackets. 

Other initiatives include the Self Help For The Elderly's senior escort program, and the new Sunset Safety Network aimed at coordinating and expanding public safety programs in the area.

Supervisor Mar says he pushed for these measures following the rise in crimes targeting the Asian American community. 

"And that's really to show the community that we are really responding to their concerns around public safety and particularly the rise in anti-Asian hate and violence," said Supervisor Mar.

One of the additional safety measures is tapping the Sunset Safety Squad; volunteers who walk the neighborhood keeping an eye out for anything out of the ordinary, and assisting and advising as needed. Alan Wong says the group is made up of younger community members who wanted to help out. 

"There's just so many young people that want to step up and with what's happened with the Asian hate incidents, it's gotten a lot of young people to rise up," said Alan Wong from the Sunset Safety Squad.

Neighbors say they're hopeful the ideas will work. "When it does start I think, no I'm positive it will have an impact on the neighborhood," said Barnickel.

The supervisor's office tells KTVU the programs for the Sunset are already funded. Some will go into effect immediately, others will still need to hire personnel or move through the city's approval process.