SAN FRANCISCO—San Francisco city officials announced they will install a blockade along Capp Street between 18th and 22nd Streets after receiving an upsurge in complaints of alleged sex work and other crime in the area.
After visiting the area that has been deemed San Francisco’s “red-light district” by some individuals, SF Board of Supervisor Hillary Ronen decided action should be taken. The barricade which is about 2 feet tall, is designed to discourage people from soliciting sex workers. Supervisor Ronen indicated she would like San Francisco to legalize sex work in designated areas in the future.
In October 2022, the San Francisco Police Department announced that they will be investigating prostitution along Capp Street. In an email to The San Francisco News Officer Robert Rueca wrote, “The Department is aware of the issues of sex workers and the potential of human trafficking on Capp Street. The department is utilizing strategies to stop and disrupt the criminal activity, while being compassionate to those forced into the sex trafficking trade.”
According to city data, two incident reports in the category of prostitution were filed by the police department in October and November 2022. Officials attribute the area’s close proximity to the nearby Shotwell Street, another throughway associated with sex work, as a potential contributor to the uptick in activity on Capp Street.
Several residents in the area spoke to local news stations in an attempt to raise awareness about the issue. A woman by the name of Ana told ABC 7 SF that she struggles to explain to her two kids about what they see in their neighborhood. She explained that she feels the environment led to their home getting burglarized recently.
“It’s not that the prostitutes are breaking into houses. It’s the environment that this creates, it’s awful. Like you can do anything you want on Capp because no one is going to do anything about it,” said Ana.
In response to the complaints, San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins indicated in the following in a statement:
“Since taking office, I have been in direct communication with neighbors, including visiting Capp Street at night, to better understand their concerns and determine how my office can be helpful in addressing the prostitution and human trafficking concerns, while working to support victims. We continue to be proactive in helping law enforcement to craft enforcement operations to deter and disrupt this activity while holding traffickers accountable.
Currently, citations for solicitation are referred to our neighborhood courts for adjudication. Johns referred to neighborhood court are expected to abide by the agreements they make with community members including going to John school and pledging to not repeat their behavior. 14 Johns have been referred to neighborhood court. We also do everything we can to help rescue victims from traffickers. We are prepared to prosecute any pimping or human tracking case and traffickers where there is sufficient evidence for us to move forward.”