Omm’A Givens, who played college basketball for UCLA and Pepperdine in the 1990s, is offering security for neighbors in the Tenderloin.
“We should all have that right to feel safe,” Givens said. “If you’re a senior citizen, and you’ve gotta walk to the pharmacy? I’ll walk you there, and I’ll walk you back home.”
Givens, who was on the Bruins’ 1995 national championship team, said he’s offering his services for free in a neighborhood where elders are often afraid to leave their homes.
“Everybody’s afraid of getting involved,” he said. “People on the Citizen app are posting a picture of a guy mistreating a dog as if we’re supposed to do something about it, when he’s right there.”
At 6-foot-11, Givens hopes to use his size to keep people safe.
“When I walk, I don’t feel afraid. I’ve had some run-ins with people that have temporarily lost their mind, had weapons or were running their mouths, but I can protect myself,” he said. “People have approached me, but no one has attacked me.”
Like many of San Francisco’s biggest critics, Givens cited his love for the city as his motivation to improve conditions for himself and those around him.
“I’ve been all over the world, and this is my favorite place,” the Washington native said. “We need to take care of the people among us.”
In the last few months, the Tenderloin—the epicenter of the city’s drug crisis—has been the site of multiple homicides, including fatal shootings, and one notable incident where a man was fatally stabbed in his own home during a robbery.
Givens can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Questions, comments or concerns about this article may be sent to email@example.com