Dolores Park Crime: Then and Now

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

Comments (10)

So Dolores Park went from “The Wire” to “Weeds”

As someone who was actually around in the DP throughout the 90’s, this is all apples and oranges. In the 90’s yes there was much more brazen dealing at the park, but the dealers kept pretty much to themselves and park visitors avoided them. Neighbors rallied to push out the dealing and it was rough, but somewhat successful. These days the crime aspect is more directed at random people who just happen to meet up with the criminals, and are generally robbed for money and electronics. So for the average person, whose not dealing drugs, its as scary and in some ways more so than in the 90’s.

DP in the 90s, scary indeed, especially along those J tracks. According to others of course, it was also its own “brand” of marijuana: super crappy brown block bammer supposedly from Mexico. At least that’s a marked improvement!

Ummm… “Roving gangs of criminals are not waiting in Dolores Park to prey on people.” Isn’t that exactly what happened last Saturday night? Yeah, it is!

Of the many hours I’ve spent at Dolores Park in the last week or so, the most dangerous thing I witnessed, day or night, was the guy who tried to sell my friends and I homemade absinthe.

You really don’t want this to happen to you, do you?

I didn’t buy any! No bathtub absinthe for me, thanks!

That absinthe was the shit though

I completely agree with the author, whenever you have a large metropolitan area THERE WILL BE CRIME. yes it sucks I know, but it comes with the territory.

If you want to live crime free with your doors unlocked, then I hear Sioux Falls is great this time of year.

A bit of can’t we all just get along. Even that it might be true that the Dolores Park Works people went too far by calling out SFPD, its a kind of natural to over-react to a stabbing on a single person by a mob of twelve. DP works seem to usually be trying to make the park work, and not be overly NIMBY so, can’t we all just get along..