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New Surveillance Measures Planned for San Francisco Attraction

The shooting death of a teenager at San Francisco's Twin Peaks lookout point over the weekend has highlighted the need for new police patrols and technology in the area, officials say.

A view of the San Francisco skyline from Twin Peaks.
(TNS) — The slaying of a teenager on Sunday drew renewed attention to crime at one of San Francisco's most idyllic tourist spots — the lookout point on Twin Peaks — just as city officials plan to beef up police patrols and install protective infrastructure at the base of the hillside.

Among the safety measures underway are significant retrofits to what is now a manual gate on the south end of Twin Peaks Boulevard. Staff at the San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation Agency will install an electric system to open and close the gate automatically, along with license plate readers and cameras to track vehicles when they enter and exit.

"These gates will serve as both an investigative tool when a crime occurs, and a deterrent to prevent those from committing crimes," said Jeff Cretan, a spokesperson for Mayor London Breed, two days after Breed announced the plans at a West of Twin Peaks Central Council community meeting.

Residents who live on the swooping roads of Twin Peaks view Sunday's shooting as a reckoning — the latest jolt to an area beset by car break-ins and armed robberies.

"People are super frustrated," said David Cuadro, a resident of Midtown Terrace, a neighborhood nestled on the western slope of the mountain. Cuadro attended the meeting on Monday and said it was billed as a general question-and-answer session with Breed, but that the vast majority of questions focused on public safety. He sensed growing desperation in the room.

Tourists "come to San Francisco, they get a rental car, drive to the top of Twin Peaks, park the car, and then everything they have is stolen," said Dona Crowder, another resident who regularly sees the detritus of recent burglaries scattered on the roads. She welcomes the new plan for license plate readers.

City leaders have rolled out high-profile safety campaigns in Twin Peaks before, but Cuadro said that he and others still feel their concerns are not taken seriously.

In 2017, then-Supervisor Norman Yee successfully sought funds for more security cameras after the murder of a 71-year-old photographer intensified residents' fears. At that time, the main parking lot of the overlook was already furnished with more than two dozen surveillance cameras, but they were set up to safeguard telecommunications towers rather than to solve crime.

Police declined to say whether the killing of a 19-year-old early Sunday morning was captured on camera, citing the continuing investigation. The Medical Examiner's Office identified the victim as Edin Figueroa Acosta of San Mateo County.

Crews expect to finish modernizing the Twin Peaks Boulevard gates in the spring.

©2023 the San Francisco Chronicle, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.