Yeah, present day DP has got me scurred.
Following the stabbing and beating in Dolores Park last week, local blogs are hot to remind us that things are not too bad, but Dolores Park NIMBYs are quick to point the finger and call for increased police presence. Mission Loc@l jumped out the gate with a gentle reminder of 15 years ago when it was a Norteño stronghold. But, the SF Weekly really brought the story home. Quoting an unnamed veteran cop, they paint a much clearly picture of 1990's Mission Dolores:
Dolores Park, in short, the place to score any manner of drugs any hour of the day. Cash-rich drug-dealers were held up at gunpoint with such regularity that, our cop recalls, at one point a handful of them candidly approached a group of police officers and asked if something could be done to help them get home with their drug money safely.
After reading these account of veteran police officers, it's hard not to read Dolores Park Works' NIMBY babble (Did SFPD Take Their Eye Off the Ball?) and laugh at those terrified of present-day Dolores. Dolores Park Works goes so far to blame the drinking on Tallboy Terrace for the recent violence and calls for SFPD to step up their game:
But to most of us, the park seems to have settled into an almost gentrified bohemian calm. Rules against open alcohol consumption and smoking (toke up if you got em) are rarely enforced. Fine! We seem to like it that way. Look at a typical Dolores afternoon. The scene is lovely, yes? But by 6pm, the buzzed and the woozy give way to the drunken and the delinquent who gather behind the clubhouse, next to the shed and near the bridge. Here, in this dark corner of the park up in the trees, with just a few old lampposts is where trouble brews.
Thankfully, the unnamed officer quoted by the Weekly clears this illegitimate claim up:
Residents in government housing “who caused problems in the district and Dolores Park either went to jail or got moved to wherever they got moved to,” he says. “I don't think the cops cared where they went.” The current-day hipsters sunning themselves in the park don't even know they ever existed.
Whatever problems those traversing the park have these days, they don't have the one folks dealt with in the 1990s — “Roving gangs of criminals are not waiting in Dolores Park to prey on people.”
So, there you have it people, the park is still safe, it's just that we live in a city and there's always going to be random acts of violence when you put 750,000 people in a small space.
(Read the entire SF Weekly piece here)