SF police target surge in car break-ins


The San Francisco Police Department is rolling out a citywide plan to combat the rash of car break-ins and property crimes by having dedicated staff at each police station focused on such crimes.

Last year, The City saw a 24 percent increase in car break-ins compared to 2016, ending with more than 30,000 car break-ins by the end of 2017, according to the Police Department.

Supervisors Norman Yee and Hillary Ronen introduced legislation last year, which later became a resolution, urging Police Chief Bill Scott and the department to provide a citywide comprehensive plan to tackle car break-ins.

Yee said Monday at Taraval police station during a press conference:

“This problem has been increasingly frustrating for our residents and tourists who are left feeling helpless.”

Yee added:

“We realize there is no one proposal to solve this issue, but there is always more we can do to shift the trend.”

Jerold Chinn/SFBay

Police Chief Bill Scott discusses the rollout of a new citywide plan to address car break-ins during a press conference on January 8, 2018, at Taraval police station in San Francisco, Calif.

The plan calls for the Police Department’s general crimes unit to coordinate with each district police station, who will have at least one dedicated officer focused on car break-ins and property theft, said Police Chief Bill Scott:

“It takes coordination to make this happen, and that’s going to be their job.”

Scott also said the department is looking to hire a citywide crime strategy officer for the unit.

On top of the new plan, the department last year deployed more officers on foot beat patrol.

The Board of Supervisors also last year passed legislation that restricted rental car companies from placing bar codes and advertisements on vehicles that may lure burglars to those vehicles, especially in popular destinations.

Ronen said she decided to focus on the car break-in epidemic because of the cost associated or “tax” with having to fix a car window or having to replace a stolen bike on a regular basis:

“My residents in District 9, they cannot afford this tax any longer.”

Supervisor Katy Tang reiterated that residents can also play a role in preventing car break-ins by not keeping items visible in the vehicle or storing items in the truck of the vehicle.

Taraval and Mission police stations will begin piloting the new department’s citywide plan on car break-ins, followed by the rest of the stations in the coming months, Scott said.

Jerold Chinn
Jerold Chinn is the San Francisco Bureau Chief of SFBay. A San Francisco native, he has spent a decade covering transportation in San Francisco. Send tips to or at Twitter @Jerold_Chinn.

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