In the last two weeks, three people have been attacked while biking through the Panhandle. According to the reports, the victims were all hit with a bottle or blunt object, and the assailants either stole or attempted to steal their bikes.
Though attacks like this are very rare, this string of three assaults on one of our busiest bikeways is very concerning. The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition has called on the SF Police Department to step up enforcement to help ensure the safety of the huge number of people who bike through this area. We have reached out to Park Station Captain Raj Vaswani to immediately step up enforcement along the Panhandle at night.
In an interview with Hoodline, Captain Vaswani reiterated that attacks like this are uncommon, and that he believes the attacks are all related.
“This is not a common occurrence, we had three and we believe they are done by the same group of suspects but descriptions are off so that is not confirmed. I can’t comment too much because the cases are open. Our Plainclothes/Station Investigations Team is working on the case. Our night shift is also aware of what occurred. Other than those three, we have not had any other similar incidents.”
If you bike through the Panhandle, we urge you to exercise more caution than usual, especially at night. If you can, travel with other riders, and keep an eye out for any suspicious behavior.
How You Can Help:
- If you encounter any suspicious or dangerous behavior on the Panhandle, please report it. For emergencies, get to a safe place and call 911. For tips or to report suspicious behavior, call the SFPD Park Station at 415-242-3000.
- Echo our calls for more SFPD Enforcement: Email SFPDParkStation@sfgov.org or tweet to @sfpdpark and ask that they add more enforcement to the Panhandle
- Come to Tuesday’s SFPD Community Meeting at Park Station at 6:00 pm. This is a chance to meet with the Park Station officers directly to make sure they hear the community’s concern about safety along the Panhandle. SF Bicycle Coalition staff will be there and hopes to have turnout to support our calls for action.
UPDATE: The Park Station has publicly stated that they have plainclothes officers out at night in the Panhandle. Thank you to the SFPD and Captain Vaswani for stepping up enforcement in response to these attacks.