With its iconic landmarks, San Francisco is an attractive target for terrorists and police must work with the business community to deter an attack, says Police Chief Heather Fong, reports the San Francisco Examiner. She said police and business groups were planning a pilot program to train downtown office building managers how to prepare for an attack. “We talk about Neighborhood Watch, there’s [also] business watch,” she said. “If those who want to harm us see that we are paying attention they might not want to strike.” The Department of Homeland Security last week awarded San Francisco’s Office of Emergency Services $20.4 million to prevent, fight, and recover from terrorism attacks.
The gang activity that dominated police attention this year — and which is largely responsible for the homicide rate leaping from 72 last year to 81 so far in 2004 — was fueled by easy access to guns, Fong said. Police had instituted basketball games to try to divert kids from gangs, she said.