Spike in car thefts in SF State area results in heightened security

SF State and the surrounding community has seen a recent spike in both auto burglary and vehicle theft over the last two months.

According to SF State’s crime, arrest and fire log, 10 reports concerning vehicle break-ins and thefts of vehicles were made in January alone, with the most recent report of an auto burglaries made Sunday, Jan. 31.

According to the Annual Campus Safety Plan Report, released by the University Police Department, 41 auto burglary were reported in 2015.

Jonathan Morales, director of news and news media at SF State, said that the UPD is conscious of the issue and is staying vigilant.

“The University Police are aware, and they take it very seriously,” Morales said. “They are increasing patrols in the area.”

So far, UPD offcials have not been able to explain the spike in crime, but vehicle theft has long been a problem in the Bay Area. In fact, San Francisco leads all metro
areas in the nation for stolen cars, according to the latest “Hot Spots” report issued by the National Insurance Crime Bureau in Des Plaines, Illinois.

Vehicles parked on Buckingham Street in University Park North on Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016. (Xpress / Perng-chih Huang)

Vehicles parked on Buckingham Street in University Park North on Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016. (Xpress / Perng-chih Huang)

“California’s San Francisco- Oakland-Hayward Metropolitan Statistical Area had the nation’s highest per capita vehicle theft rate in 2014,” NICB’s Director of Public Affairs Frank Scafidi said in an email.

As for ways to prevent auto burglary, the UPD’s website dispenses tips on ways to discourage car theft, like removing all loose items from the car, closing the windows, locking the doors, parking in a well-lit area and never leaving the keys in the ignition while the vehicle is unattended. Items stolen most often include GPS’s, phones, electronics, wallets, purses and other small items. The website emphasizes student awareness, calling it a “major factor in reducing these types of crimes.”

Despite the added security, some students said they were staying cautious.

“I’ve always tried to be careful with my car,” said information systems major Timothy Tran. “I used to be okay with parking on the street, but since hearing about all the crime, I started using the parking lot more often.”

Although the news of the spike has concerned students and resulted in heightened security, UPD recovered five stolen vehicles in the last month and either returned them to their owners or transported them to storage.

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