Police Beat Capt. Richard Corriea

Safe driving, new fraud

Traffic Safety

I receive many telephone calls each month from residents concerning locations in the district that are dangerous for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians. Community activists seek additional traffic controls and traffic calming measures through the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The callers, activists and police all seek the same future; safe streets for us to move about our busy neighborhoods.

Having grown up in the Richmond District, I have a pretty good sense of areas where traffic conditions and behavior present an increased risk to us all. I also recognize collision data shows that our main traffic arteries are where most traffic accidents occur. Officers investigate each traffic collision that results in injury to determine what behavior precipitated the collision. The investigating officer will determine a primary collision factor for each incident and identify the vehicle code sections that were violated.

Based on these sources of information our officers are regularly deployed to specific locations to focus their enforcement efforts. The presence of officers and police cars with flashing red lights undoubtedly calms traffic for brief periods.

The collision data is helpful in confirming what we already know. Motorists and bicyclists should slow down, stay off cell phones, choose courtesy over aggressiveness and never insist on the right-of-way. Everyone should pay attention to stop signs and signals and pedestrians should use crosswalks and stay attentive. With the short days of winter leaving us to commute in darkness, everybody should maintain a heightened sense of awareness to traffic in order to stay safe.

On Oct. 7, at 5 p.m., a young man on a bicycle was riding northbound on the 300 block of Sixth Avenue, just north of Geary Boulevard. At the same time, the Muni #44 O'Shaughnessy bus was being driven on Sixth Avenue in the same direction as the bicyclist. The bus and the bicyclist collided mid-block and the bicyclist, Mr. Derek Allen, was killed. He was 22 years old.

I have a sense of what caused the collision that led to Mr. Allen's death, but because the incident remains the subject of an investigation, I have to refrain from speculating. I can say, however, that the loss of a young member of our community should give us all pause to reflect on what we can do to make our streets safer. Please be compassionate; think of the life and family of the folks that you are sharing the streets with.

Right now, statistical trends suggest that there will be more that 300 injury accidents in the Richmond by the end of 2010. As a community, we can change this trend.

Canadian Lottery Fraud

I received an envelope in the mail at home recently that contained a letter stating I had won the Canadian Lottery. What good luck! My dad would have said: "Your ship has come in!" Accompanying the letter was a check in the amount $4,700 that was payable to me to pay the taxes on my lottery prize.

Since the letter was sent as a part of a mass mailing, I suspect that many of you also received one. I knew the letter was sent as part of a criminal fraud; however, I took the check to one of our local banks to see what the branch manager thought of it. The check was a proper financial instrument and could be negotiated.

Unfortunately, the criminals tell their victims to cash the check and then use some of the proceeds to obtain a cashier's check to pay a "lottery tax." The victim then sends the cashier's check to an off-shore address and a week later the first check is returned to the victim's bank unpaid.

Each month several members of our community fall victim to this fraud. Please be careful and remember that no legitimate sweepstakes require payment to receive a prize.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October was Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The SF Police Department's Domestic Violence Response Unit is located at the Hall Of Justice. There are 15 inspectors who investigate 350 to 400 reports of domestic violence each month.

This investigative unit currently has two Casa de las Madres victim advocates who assist victims with shelter and other services. Victims of domestic violence should contact the Domestic Violence Unit at (415) 553-9227. In an emergency, call 911.

Police Community Forum

Our next Police Community Forum will be on Nov. 16, at 7 p.m., at the Richmond Station. Please join us to discuss public safety and participate in a discussion about public safety issues related to night-time entertainment activities.

Capt. Richard Corriea is the commanding officer at the Richmond Station.