Car Break-ins On The Rise

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Car break-ins near SF State and the surrounding Taraval area have risen 30 percent in two years, according to police incident reports.  


There have been 46 auto burglary reports around SF State in 2016 so far.  More than half of those incidents occurred in University Park North along Buckingham Way, said Interim University Police Chief Reginald Parson in an email.  


“I’ve probably seen three or four car break-ins already to start off the semester,” said business marketing major Kandi Patterson.


In the past year there have been 981 reported grand theft from locked auto cases in the Taraval area –– which is any items stolen worth more than $950.  According to the San Francisco Police Incident Report that number is a 30 percent increase from the 652 reported cases from three years ago.  


“They have been on the rise because of several reasons. The prosecution of them being dropped to misdemeanors and probation also helped the culprits,” said Captain Joseph McFadden of Ingleside Police Station. “So it is a very lucrative crime for the suspects.”


Petty theft from locked auto cases –– which is any items stolen worth less than $950 –– has gone down in 2016, with 290 reported cases, compared to 328 cases from last year.


Safety groups in the nearby neighborhood of West Portal are working closely with law enforcement to combat the issue.


“I became involved after my fourth car break-in –– I’m now up to six,” said Committee Chair of Crime and Public Safety at Greater West Portal Neighborhood Association Andrew Segal.  “So yes, property crime has increased dramatically.”


According to the incident report over the last three years there has been a 16 percent increase of grand and petty auto break-ins, resulting in a combined total of 19,993 reported cases in San Francisco.


Some residents have begun placing low cost cameras in their front windows pointed toward their cars, which capture video that is then sent to the police.


McFadden said when there is an accomplice in the crime, the prosecuting of an auto burglary can be divided between the two assailants resulting in reduced charges for both suspects.


“Auto break-ins are an easy way to make money for drug users and gang members,”  McFadden said.  “It is kind of like in the 1980s where car stereos were the easy thing to steal and resell.”