‘Any Authority:’ Business Owners Dismayed By San Francisco’s Unarmed ‘Ambassadors’ Ability To Deter Crime

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Brandon Poulter Contributor
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San Francisco business owners say that the unarmed community ambassadors patrolling the area are doing nothing to deter crime, according to The San Francisco Standard.

The San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) Community Ambassador program began in 2020, in which the ambassadors, who are unarmed,  patrol the streets in an effort to build ties amongst the community and deter crime, according to ABC 7 News. Business owners say the program does little to curtail crime, according to the SF Standard. (RELATED: ‘Don’t I Have A Right To My Safety?: ’Blue State Residents Sound Off On Homelessness Crisis)

“I appreciate the effort, but I just don’t know that I understand what they’re supposed to be doing,” candy store owner Diana Zogaric told the SF Standard. “Their presence is here, and that’s supposed to be a deterrent, but it’s not like I have their phone number and I can call them. They’re lovely, and I really don’t want to say anything negative about them, but I just don’t think that they have any authority.”

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 03: Pedestrians walk by an Insomnia Cookies store on October 03, 2023 in San Francisco, California. Doughnut company Krispy Kreme is looking to sell its majority stake in cookie bakery Insomnia Cookies. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Zogaric was recently violently attacked by Parmjit Singh Janda, who was sitting on a bench outside her candy shop, after she asked him to leave, according to the SF Standard.

“These are retired officers, many of whom are in their 60s and 70s,” Deidre Von Rock, West Portal Merchant Association president, told The Standard. “They don’t have any enforcement authority. They do not have any weapons, and honestly, I don’t think any of them have the physical strength to deal with an assault. If something is happening and the ambassadors are right there, maybe they can get to SFPD quicker than we can, but that’s about it.”

Sean Patrick, co-owner of Calibur on West Portal Avenue in San Francisco, said he’s seen an increase in mental health crises in the area, according to the SF Standard. He also said the SFPD community ambassadors help get the police on scene quicker, but that it doesn’t make a difference.

“They help when situations happen if they’re in the neighborhood, but I don’t think they actually deter it (crime). They help get the police here quicker or describe it or have direct access to the people that matter, but that’s always after the fact,” Patrick told the SF Standard.

“The San Francisco Police Department’s Ambassador Program is just one of our programs that accomplishes those goals,” a spokesperson for the SFPD told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Our Ambassador Program is a great example of how we have taken input from San Franciscans and our business community and have collaborated with Mayor Breed and the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) to implement innovative non-traditional policing solutions and strategies to enhance the safety of San Francisco and reduce community harms. Our SFPD Ambassadors were not meant to replace sworn police officers.”

Democratic San Francisco Mayor London Breed did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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