SF State experienced a string of property crimes during the first three weeks of the semester, including an armed robbery Friday night, prompting the University Police Department to employ measures to deter future incidents.
According to the UPD crime log, there were five incidents of auto burglary, and five petty thefts reported within the last two weeks of January and the first week of February, which comprise of half of all property crimes from the last 60 days.
UPD Deputy Chief Reginald Parsons said there has been a significant increase in property crime incidents since the implementation of Proposition 47, which reduces crimes such as forgery of checks, receiving stolen property, theft and burglary to misdemeanors.
“As a direct result of Proposition 47, if the amount taken during a vehicle burglary is less than $950, then the suspect is simply given a ticket and released at the scene by the officers,” Parsons said.
Before Proposition 47, suspects were arrested and taken to jail for felony violations.
In order to avoid future incidents of property crimes around campus, Parsons said the UPD is employing a two-phase approach involving informing and educating members of the community about preventative measures and planned enforcement operations.
The UPD also launched a Community Liaison Unit in January to provide security presentations and information as well as strengthen communication with SF State community members.
Parsons said auto burglary is an opportunistic crime while petty theft increases in the beginning of the semester due to the arrival of new and returning students.
“As a statistic, we tend to see an increase in the amount of theft from areas such as the library and the student center,” Parsons said. “We always recommend for students to be aware of their surroundings and their belongings.”
Parsons said auto burglaries are most frequent in areas around campus, such as 19th Avenue, University Park North, University Park South and Lake Merced Boulevard.
Jim Dudley, a retired SFPD deputy chief and lecturer at SF State, said individuals should be wary of what they leave in their vehicles.
“Even to the point where you don’t leave your charging cords dangling from your cigarette lighter because (thieves) may figure that you could have GPS or something of value under your seat or glove compartment,” Dudley said.
History Major Miyako Martinez had her car broken into twice in 2016. One of the break-ins occurred near her University Park North residence in November. Martinez also said she sees many cars around campus with trash bags taped over broken windows.
“I’m always uncomfortable leaving my car on campus because of these incidents,” Martinez said.
Petty thefts on campus decreased by 14.5 percent between 2015 and 2016, but the amount of auto burglary that occurred during the same period increased by 60.9 percent, according to Parsons.
There were 132 incidents involving theft in 2016, according to the most recent California Campus Safety Report.
The Lakeshore neighborhood – where SF State resides – has fewer reports of property crimes within the last two weeks of January than adjacent neighborhoods, according to CrimeMapping, an interactive mapping system that collects crime statistics.
There were 50 reports of burglary and theft during the last two weeks of January in the Parkside neighborhood and 67 reports in Ocean View, while Lakeshore had 46 reports.
The Community Liaison Unit is working in collaboration with the Investigations Division and Crime Prevention Unit in order to direct plain clothes operations and patrols where the crimes occur.
“The ultimate goal is to mitigate these types of crimes with the help of the community,” Parsons said. “Remember, if you see something, say something.”