SAN FRANCISCO – Parents and nannies in the affluent Noe Valley neighborhood told Fox News they’re afraid for their safety after groups of bat-wielding children robbed and assaulted several mothers and babysitters in the area.
The neighborhood, nicknamed “strollerville” or “stroller alley” because of the many young families that live there, experienced 11 phone robberies at the end of June, which local authorities believe are linked to a gang of kids who target women with children, according to The Telegraph. One of the mothers was allegedly hit with a baseball bat.
“I don’t really know where I can be and be safe,” Rebecca, a Noe Valley mother, told Fox News. “There’s kind of a general sense of lawlessness.”
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She said the recent attacks are particularly troubling since they’re happening in the middle of the day when parents are out with their children.
“You’re kind of on your own to look out for yourself without having a lot of support from the city,” Rebecca said.
Police arrested a minor last month in relation to the phone thefts and are continuing to investigate. Authorities are also looking into a similar string of robberies and assaults targeting women and their cell phones in the nearby Lower Haight neighborhood, according to the San Francisco Examiner.
“Moms in this area and all neighborhoods have been affected by what’s happened in the last few weeks,” Teri, a Noe Valley nanny, told Fox News. “I definitely think moms are afraid.”
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“There are kids in these strollers. They’re starting to go after the vulnerable,” Teri continued. “It’s extremely unsettling.”
Andrea, another Noe Valley nanny, said the assaults and robberies are scary because they target women and children. She said the family she works for told her not to go out with their child for the week following the attack.
“Honestly, it just makes me feel unsafe to work and be out,” Andrea told Fox News.
Robbery and motor vehicle theft are up 12% and 8%, respectively, since the beginning of the year, while larceny theft and burglary are both down by just under 10%, according to San Francisco police data.
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Robberies specifically targeting phones are an issue everywhere in the city, according to Scott, a Noe Valley father.
“I always tell my wife to never look at her phone while she’s walking around,” he told Fox News. “I think that makes you much more of a target.”
Rebecca said robberies are rampant because perpetrators don’t believe they will be caught or prosecuted.
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“You’re not going to be prosecuted for these types of things,” the mother told Fox News. “It’s really hard to catch people.”
“You don’t hear a lot of stories of people getting caught after these types of events,” she continued.
To watch the full interviews with San Francisco residents, click here.