SFPD highlights importance of foot patrols for safety

San Francisco police say they've seen a citywide drop in crime compared to last year and that it's thanks to an increase in foot patrols. 

When you're in San Francisco, vigilance is your best protection. Police say you have to be smart.

Some of the people we encountered on the streets had their own street smart words of wisdom. "Hide your valuables make sure nothing is showing," said Tony Pariyavanah of Richmond. 

"You just have to pay attention. You can't walk around with your purse open and your phone out," said Sara Lanning of Haight Ashbury. 

Police are working to make neighbors and visitors feel more safe.

They just released a new report highlighting just how effective foot patrols has proven to be. 

In September of 2017 SFPD reassigned 70 officers primarily in plain clothes and special duty assignments. 

"We're putting those officers in uniform, we're putting them where those crimes are occurring and we're preventing the crime," said Deputy Chief Ann Mannix with SFPD. 

The proof is in the numbers. In October of 2017 there were 295 robberies. That number fell to 261 in October of 2018. Aggravated assault also saw a 14 percent decline. 

Property crime is down too. Larceny theft including vehicle break ins is down 16 percent from last year. 

"I have seen people walking around, police officers so it's been good. I think I haven't seen as many cars broken into, so I guess that's good," said Lanning.

SFPD says there are more than 100 foot patrol beats throughout the city, 43 of them in the Mid-Market area alone. 

"A week ago we started the Safe Shopper. Every December we gear up and add even more police officers. We added 33 more police officers on foot in the downtown area," said Mannix 

It's this old school method of community policing where neighbors get to know the officers and vice versa. 

It's more common in small towns. For this bustling city, it's working to build trust and bring down crime.