SFPD Chinatown Merchant Walk Updates Community on Safety Initiatives

In the wake of recent violence against the Asian community in San Francisco, throughout the Bay Area and across the nation, the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD), community leaders and other  groups came together to take a Merchant Walk in Chinatown Feb. 18. The overall aim of the gathering? To keep the local

business community and residents informed about steps being taken to improve safety in their neighborhoods.

In all, approximately 25 people kicked off the effort by gathering in Chinatown’s Portsmouth Square; among them were SFPD Community Engagement Commander Daryl Fong, Central Station Captain Julian Ng, Supervisor Aaron Peskin, SFPD police officers, ALERT team members, cadets and SF SAFE’s own Lead

Public Safety & Community Engagement Coordinator Wesley Chu.

From there, the group fanned out to connect with merchants and residents throughout Chinatown. “This effort was to let the Asian community know the SFPD’s Community Liaison Unit (CLU) officers will be assigned to walking beats in various districts to supplement Central Station foot beat and patrol deployments,” said Chu.

“Officers will also support victims of any identified prejudice-based incidents, hate crimes, blessing scams, etc. This unit also monitors an anonymous crime tip line for Mandarin and Cantonese speakers,” he added. According to Chu, the tip line phone number is 415-558-5588.

At this time, the SFPD is also alerting the Chinese community to watch out for suspicious strangers purporting to offer relief from a curse or illness and/or those who provide “purification” ceremonies that require cash and valuable items as offerings as part of the process. More commonly, these activities are known as the aforementioned “blessing scams.” Anyone wanting to report this type of scam can call the SFPD’s Blessing Scam Tip Line at the same number stated above.

Here are some tips for community members to avoid becoming the victim of a blessing scam: Be aware of strangers; do not withdraw money at banks/ATMs with strangers; do not entrust money or valuables to strangers offering prayers or healing; and do not take strangers into your home.

Any community members targeted by scammers or knowing of an elder who was approached by one is advised to contact police immediately. Reports can be made at any SFPD district station or by calling 415-553-0123. Cantonese speakers can leave tips on a special tip line by calling 415-553-9212 or 1-855-737-3847.