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Bay Area briefs
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SF sees drop in crime for 3rd year

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco's homicide total held steady between 2010 and 2011, though officials say the overall violent crime rate continues to hover at 50-year lows.
For the past two years, there has been an annual total of 50 homicides in the city. That is San Francisco's second-lowest homicide rate since the 1960s, and well below the 98 homicides reported in 2008.
Overall violent crime in 2011 fell 6 percent from 2010, and is down 18 percent from 2008. That includes lower rates of assaults, robberies, rape and burglaries.
Property crime, however, was up 3 percent last year.
Mayor Ed Lee and Police Chief Greg Suhr credit the continuing improvements to strategically placing officers in hot spots, encouraging community involvement and utilizing new crime-fighting technology.

SF field plan opposed by environmentalists
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A proposal to renovate fields along the western edge of San Francisco's Golden Gate Park envisions synthetic turf replacing the grass and lights to allow people to play at night.
City planners are now working on the final environmental impact report for the renovation of the Beach Chalet Athletic Fields.
Project proponents say the Beach Chalet's four grass fields are in bad shape and need to be replaced. But environmentalists say synthetic turf would clash with Golden Gate Park's natural setting. They have also raised concerns about the planned field lights.
The city's Recreation and Park Department and the nonprofit City Fields Foundation are sponsoring the project, which is estimated to cost between $12 million and $15 million.
Public funds for the project would come from a $185 million bond passed in 2008.

Train hits, kills woman on tracks in Bay Area
MENLO PARK  (AP) — Transit officials say a commuter train has struck and killed a woman on the tracks in Northern California.
Christine Dunn, a San Mateo County Transit spokeswoman, says in a statement that the woman's identity is not known. Dunn says officials are investigating and that early indications suggest the woman "may have intentionally placed herself in the path of the oncoming" Caltrain on Monday evening in Menlo Park.
None of the 238 passengers on the train were injured.
This marks the year's first Caltrain death after 16 fatalities on the tracks in 2011.
Dunn says in the statement that no other details were immediately available.