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    New Public Safety Initiative Launches in the Castro/Upper Market District

    Castro Cares ( ), a unique community collaborative managed by the Castro Community Benefit District (CBD), on February 4 launched a comprehensive, three-pronged program dedicated to improving public safety, economic vitality, and quality of life in San Francisco’s iconic Castro/Upper Market area. The CBD was awarded a $413,245 grant from the San Francisco Office of Economic & Workforce Development (OEWD) to fund the new initiative.

    The innovative Castro Cares initiative has three main components that operate within the CBD geographical footprint seven days a week:

    • San Francisco Patrol Special Police provides foot and vehicle patrols by armed officers in uniform, and has direct cooperation and contact with SFPD. The Patrol Special Police works overnight Friday and Saturday from 9 pm to 9 am and Sunday and Monday from 9 am to 5 pm.
    • Public Safety Ambassadors offer foot and bicycle patrols by unarmed security guards Tuesday–Saturday, 7 am to 3:30 pm. Foot patrols are a uniformed presence in the district acting to deter crime, address quality of life issues, and serve as an extra set of eyes and ears in the neighborhood during the day. They also provide assurance to visitors, residents and merchants that there is a visible public safety component in the district in close communication with the SFPD, the Healthy Streets Operations Center, and CBD’s other city partners.
    • Downtown Streets Team (DST) empowers unhoused individuals to be part of the solution. DST Team Members participate in a volunteer work-experience program, Monday–Friday afternoons, beautifying and cleaning the district while receiving basic needs stipends to cover food, hygiene, bills, etc. Additionally, team members receive services to help them achieve full employment and housing. This service is in addition to the Castro CBD’s standard cleaning services which operate across the district 7 days a week from 7 am to 7:30 pm. 

    The safety and cleaning services can be contacted by calling/texting 415-471-7536.

    District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman ahead of the launch said, “The Castro Public Safety Ambassadors will provide a rapid non-police response for the neighborhood and will help make it safer and more welcoming for everyone. I was glad to work with the Castro CBD to secure the funding for this pilot program in the City budget and am eager to see the Public Safety Ambassadors on the streets of the Castro.”  

    “This generous grant from OEWD allows us to supplement the great work the City does with resources dedicated specifically to the Castro to address the needs of our residents, business owners and visitors. Castro Cares is just one more step the Castro CBD is taking to improve the neighborhood for everyone and help us recover as quickly as possible from this devastating pandemic. The extra set of eyes, ears and boots on the ground will help assure visitors using the shared spaces and outdoor dining that the Castro is clean and safe,” said Andrea Aiello, Executive Director, Castro CBD.

    Castro Cares, a program of the Castro Community Benefit District, is made up of a number of Castro-based neighborhood groups, including the Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association, the Eureka Valley Neighborhood Association, St. Francis Lutheran Church, Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church and the Castro Merchants. Castro Cares depends on continued support by neighbors, merchants, and City grants. More information is available on the Castro CBD website:

    Published on February 11, 2021