Police officers monitor Civic Center station where rampant drug use has occurred.

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Kiosk For Dirty Needle Disposal Becomes Part Of Civic Center Cleanup Effort

Bob Butler
June 20, 2018 - 6:35 pm

A kiosk for drug users to dispose of dirty needles has been installed at San Francisco’s Civic Center station as part of a package aimed at reducing seediness and improving services to homeless people that congregate around the downtown hub.

The BART and Muni station and adjoining United Nations Plaza have become infamous as a garbage-strewn haven for drug dealing and use. Footage of users shooting up in the station aired on TV-station KPIX in April, sparking an outcry.

Besides the kiosk for used syringes, there will be increased patrols by city cops and BART police beginning early in July, officials said on Wednesday. Attendants will begin working in the elevators located in the station too.

“it's clear [to[ anyone who rides BART or anyone who rides Muni and comes off at Civic Center station that the problems we're seeing above ground with homelessness, with drug addiction, are really coming down into our station,” said BART Board Vice President Nick Josefowitz. ‘That’s unacceptable.”

Curbing illicit activity was difficult as city police only patrolled the plaza while BART cops didn't have jurisdiction outside the station. Under the new plan, those restrictions should fade away, officials said. Officers from both departments will be able to pursue suspects in the station and plaza.

As part of the new approach, some individuals battling addiction can be referred to substance abuse programs by police rather than face criminal consequences.