University police suggest caution in wake of recent burglaries
SF State police are currently investigating nine burglaries that happened between Sept. 2 and Sept. 21 in University Park South.
According to University police, three of the burglaries were forced entries, with suspects gaining access into the building by breaking windows and doors and two of the burglaries had no signs of forced entry. University police were unsure how the suspects gained entry in four of the burglaries that took place on Sept. 20 and Sept. 21. Campus police said all the victims were asleep in the residence when the crimes occurred.
“UPD has not identified the suspects and has not made any arrests for the cases. They are coordinating investigative efforts with SFPD,” said University spokesperson, J. Elizabeth Smith, in an email.
The incidents reported occurred on the 1700, 1500 and 500 blocks of Holloway Avenue, the 100 block of Serrano Drive, the 600 block of Font Boulevard, and on Pinto and Cardenas Avenues.
University police urge all students living around campus not to leave high-value items such as laptops near windows. It was also suggested that phones, wallets and purses be kept away from windows, because it is easy to smash the window and take these portable items.
Students have options to help protect themselves from burglaries and safe proof their homes by using a free service offered by the nonprofit group San Francisco Safety Awareness For Everyone.
SAFE helps safeguard homes for renters and homeowners and offers seminars on how to make your home less attractive to burglars.
“We conduct security surveys for both single family homes and multi-unit buildings (apartments and condominiums). The security surveys are free of charge for single family homes and there is a nominal fee for multi-unit buildings,” said Wilfred Sunga, safety and security specialist at SAFE, in an email.
Residents of West Portal have used the services provided by SAFE to reduce burglaries in the neighborhood.
“The neighbors who had the assessments done have shared some of the key findings and it has had a ripple effect,” said Andrew Segal, committee chair of Crime and Public Safety, in an email. “They’ve arranged speakers (police, district attorneys , and home security specialists) who have given us a better understanding of the criminal justice system and how to help it work for us. All in, SAFE has been a real benefit to the neighborhood.”
Security specialists at SAFE also say three factors that contribute to home burglaries are visibility, time and noise. Setting up your place of living in a way that makes it difficult to get in and out unnoticed by neighbors or a passerby decreases the chance of robbery, even if you feel safe at home or if you live in the dorms.
Some dorm residents feel protected by the way SF State housing and officials check in their keys at the front desk of the housing buildings.
“I do feel safe at the dorms. I feel like that checking in our keys really keeps out anyone that’s not supposed to be there,” said Alan Benitez, a computer science major.
“We combine common sense with proven techniques to increase safety at home, on the streets, public transportation, ATM safety and vehicle safety,” said Sunga. “We provide information for victims of crime, including sexual assault and domestic violence victims and tips for people with disabilities. We have a multilingual and multicultural team that can tailor safety presentations to any group.”
SAFE has been lauded by SFPD officials for possibly decreasing crime in the City with their help.
“They are instrumental in reaching out to the community and organizing neighborhood watch groups that help alleviate concerns of citizens and educate them on crime issues that affect them…I believe they are responsible for helping dramatically bring down crime in the city,” said Captain Joseph McFadden of the Ingleside police station, in an email.
UPD wants students to make sure all their doors are closed and locked even while at home. They also ask others to remain alert when leaving and entering their residence. The police also advise students to leave a light on at night as a deterrent towards criminals. In case you see something suspicious, you can call the campus police department at 415-338-222 or 911 in case of emergencies.