July 17, 2024

Community News

San Francisco Breed & State Senator Weiner Announce Legislation to Hinder Thieves
June 3, 2024

Posted Courtesy of Wright Enterprises Community Spotlight San Francisco ~ Dallas ~~

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  

Monday, June 3, 2024  
Contact: Mayor’s Press Office, mayorspressoffice@sfgov.org   
***PRESS RELEASE *** 
MAYOR BREED AND SENATOR WIENER ANNOUNCE STATE LEGISLATION TO SHUT DOWN THE SALE OF STOLEN GOODS IN SAN FRANCISCO 
Senate Bill 925 would create a targeted system from law enforcement to address rampant fencing on City streets, which has brought up serious public safety challenges and hurt local businesses  
San Francisco, CA – Today, Mayor London N. Breed joined State Senator Scott Wiener to announce legislation to combat fencing, the sale of stolen goods on City streets. Authored by Senator Wiener and sponsored by Mayor Breed, Senate Bill 925 (SB 925) would allow San Francisco to create permitting requirements to regulate the sale of items commonly obtained through retail theft and impose criminal penalties for those who engage in this practice. 
The sale of stolen items in San Francisco has created unsafe street conditions and health and safety hazards that have negatively impacted residents, businesses, City workers, and legitimate street vendors. Under the legislation, San Francisco can require vendors to obtain a permit to be able to sell items deemed as frequently stolen by asking for documentation that the merchandise was obtained legitimately, such as showing proof of purchase. 
The legislation also establishes that those in violation would receive an infraction for the first two offenses and an infraction or a misdemeanor and up to six months in county jail for the third offense. 
Under this bill, people can still:   
  • Sell goods with a permit 
  • Sell prepared food with a permit  
  • Sell goods on the list of frequently stolen items with a permit and proof of purchase 
“In San Francisco we are working hard to make our streets safer and more welcoming for all. SB 925 would greatly help us get a handle on the sale of stolen goods, all while taking a narrow approach that specifically targets bad actors,” said San Francisco Mayor London Breed. “I would like to thank Senator Wiener for authoring this legislation and helping us gain an effective tool to address fencing here in San Francisco.” 
“San Francisco’s vibrant culture of street vending supports many families and showcases the diversity of our communities. But that cultural richness is threatened when bad actors are allowed to openly sell stolen goods on our streets, often pushing out legitimate street vendors and undermining public safety,” said Senator Wiener. “With this bill we’re taking a balanced approach that respects the critical role street vending plays in our community while holding fencing operations accountable for the disruption they cause. It’s critical that everyone feel safe on our streets, including street vendors and neighborhood residents.” 
SB 925 builds on San Francisco’s efforts to address fencing and unsafe street conditions, such as inaccessible sidewalks and other health and safety hazards; permanent vending moratoriums are already in place in UN Plaza and Hallidie Plaza. 
In November 2023, Mayor Breed and Supervisor Hillary Ronen announced the implementation of a street vending moratorium along Mission Street in the Mission neighborhood to target the sale of illegal goods along this commercial stretch. To mitigate the impacts with the permitted vendors who have followed the rules, the City worked with the community to support permitted street vendors with various initiatives such as setting up temporary market spaces, launching a marketing campaign to promote those venues, and offering wraparound support services, including emergency relief funds for vendors for low-income households. 
In February, the moratorium was extended for an additional six months, through August 22. The decision was driven by data that showed improvements in the neighborhood, including a 30% decrease in assaults and robberies and 23% decrease in 311 service requests for street cleaning.  
Additionally, 67% of the 192 surveyed businesses in the neighborhood reported having seen a positive change in the neighborhood.  
However, the City intends to bring back the permitted street along Mission Street and is currently working on a phased pilot project to allow a limited number of permitted street vendors to return to a stretch of Mission Street while the City continues to assess how the area can remain safe and clean.   
"Our neighborhood residents, permitted street vendors, transit riders, and small businesses deserve safe sidewalks along our commercial corridors,” said Supervisor Hillary Ronen. “This state bill provides San Francisco an essential tool in tackling the rampant sale of stolen goods and bringing order and renewed vibrancy to our neighborhoods." 
“Selling stolen goods is unacceptable in San Francisco. The SFPD has supercharged our efforts to address organized retail crime and we’re optimistic about the results we’ve seen,” said SFPD Chief Bill Scott. “I want to thank Mayor Breed and Senator Wiener for identifying new ways to combat the illegal fencing of stolen goods. This will help our hard-working officers continue to make progress in cracking down on retail theft.” 
“The progress we’ve made to create cleaner, safer, and more accessible corridors in San Francisco is real and we need to build on the momentum,” said Public Works Director Carla Short. “Senator Wiener’s bill takes direct aim at the harmful sale of fenced items and assists the City’s efforts to support those vendors who have permits and contribute to the vibrancy of our neighborhoods.” 
“This legislation will help improve conditions on the streets, so we don’t have to live with the threat of people who do not follow the law and create an environment of chaos that affects the entire community,” says Rodrigo Lopez, President of the Mission Street Vendors Association. “We, permitted street vendors, have followed the rules and support the legislation because we want to come back to continue selling on the streets of San Francisco and stay afloat.” 
"The sale of stolen products can create a hostile environment in our neighborhoods and that is why I support legislation to stop it,” says Iván Lopez, owner of Artillery Ceramics, located on Mission Street. “We need solutions like this to ensure it is people breaking the law who face legal consequences and not permitted street vendors who are looking for an equal opportunity to work."   
In 2018, California decriminalized sidewalk vending with the passage of SB 946, the “Safe Sidewalk Vending Act.” The law effectively barred law enforcement from enforcing violations related to street vending, replacing the former criminal system with an administrative penalty system. This legal change prompted San Francisco to rely heavily on administrative enforcement, which became untenable as conditions on the streets deteriorated under the influx of criminal activity. SB 925 provides law enforcement with a narrow tool to protect public safety. 
Next, SB 925 will be referred to policy committees as it makes its way through the State Assembly. 

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