On August 7, 2019, U.S. Attorney David L. Anderson announced a new federal initiative to address crime in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District. The program, called the Federal Initiative for the Tenderloin (FIT), brings together the resources of more than 15 federal law enforcement agencies to combat endemic drug trafficking, firearms offenses, robberies and other crime in the neighborhood.
SERVING THE COMMUNITY THROUGH FIT
The Tenderloin neighborhood encompasses about 50 square blocks of downtown San Francisco. Generally, it is bounded on the north by Geary Street, on the east by Powell Street, on the south by Mission Street, and on the west by Van Ness Avenue. The Tenderloin is ethnically, socially and racially diverse; relatively more affordable than other neighborhoods in San Francisco; and has one of the highest concentrations of school-aged children in San Francisco according to published reports.
At the August 7, 2019, press conference announcing FIT, U.S. Attorney Anderson stated this wonderful neighborhood is being “smothered by lawlessness.”
“Innocent residents, commuters, tourists, and persons with business in one of the four major federal buildings in the Tenderloin should not be required to run a gauntlet of crime,” U.S. Attorney Anderson said. “The Tenderloin neighborhood deserves the benefits of the rule of law every bit as much as other neighborhoods in this city.”
The federal initiative has prioritized federal charges for criminal misconduct with a nexus to the Tenderloin, including drug trafficking, firearms offenses, escape, Hobbs Act robberies, false passports and visas, postal crimes, crimes on federal land, human trafficking, identity theft, and benefits fraud. The initiative has not been directed against innocent homelessness; nor has it been focused on drug use or possession without distribution.
PROGRESS ON FIT
As of March 2020, more than 150 defendants have been publicly charged as part of FIT. Charged conduct to date includes drug trafficking, human trafficking, unlawful possession of firearms, escape, robbery, and child pornography. In addition to these announced charges, investigations have been opened into other criminal offenses that either manifest or support the deep infrastructure of crime that exists in the Tenderloin neighborhood. Of the 150 FIT defendants publically charged to date, more than twenty of them involve weapons charges. Dozens of firearms have been removed from the streets as a result of these law enforcement efforts.
U.S. Attorney Anderson has pledged to continue with the effort for a minimum of one year.