The District Attorney's Office has initiated numerous initiatives to connect our office with San Francisco's diverse communities and break the cycle of crime. Adopting an approach designed to make San Francisco the safest large city in America, these initiatives provide innovative and efficient solutions to protect victims, hold offenders accountable, and resolve the underlying causes of crime. Below are descriptions of several of our key programs. Contact us to find out more.
The Back in School Initiative: Reducing Truancy in San Francisco
Nearly 5,000 San Francisco students are habitually or chronically truant each year. Shockingly, over 40 percent are in elementary school. The links between truancy and crime are clear. Nationwide, 75 percent of all truant children will eventually drop out of school. Statewide, two-thirds of prison inmates are high school dropouts. Combating truancy is a smart approach to crime prevention. In 2006, our office partnered with the San Francisco Unified School District to reduce truancy. Every fall we send out letters to all parents informing them that truancy is against the law. During the school year, prosecutors hold mediations with parents to urge them to get help. In most cases, attendance improves. But when it does not, my office prosecutes parents in a specialized Truancy Court we created that combines court monitoring with family services. We have the School District and Children and Family Services on hand to resolve underlying issues such as unstable housing, substance abuse, or neglect. We are seeing positive results. In the last year alone, truancy among elementary school students declined on average by 20 percent. Click here to read a recent UC Santa Barbara report about the links between crime, truancy, dropout rates, and the economy.
- To find out more about our initiative, contact Katy Miller: firstname.lastname@example.org. For assistance keeping your kid(s) in school, call the school district's Truancy Hotline: (415) 701-STAY.
The Community ADA Initiative: Putting Neighborhood Safety First
San Francisco is home to numerous diverse neighborhoods and each has their own experiences of crime and their own public safety priorities. To formally link each neighborhood with our office and ensure every community has a voice, we launched the Community ADA program. We assign two to three Assistant District Attorneys to each police district. The Community ADA's take responsibility for attending monthly police/community meetings, acting as a liaison for residents in the district, and providing information and expertise around specific public safety issues to the neighborhood. They connect residents with our office. We also hold Resource Fairs and Neighborhood Legal Fairs in each community to address the specific needs of various populations, educate the community about services available, and provide hands-on assistance on-site.
The Hate Crimes Reduction Initiative: Protecting all of the City's Residents
San Francisco is home to people of all walks of life. Every ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, age, and ability make up our population. Every person deserves safe communities and the fullest protection of the law. To ensure that hate crimes against minorities are not tolerated, the District Attorney's Office created a specialized position in the office focused on hate crimes prosecution and collaboration with community organizations. One Assistant District Attorney is assigned to coordinate hate crimes enforcement and ensure effective prosecution. To combat the notorious underreporting of hate crimes, the District Attorney also launched a public education campaign designed to educate at risk communities about the steps they can take to report hate crimes.