On the campaign trail, Suzy Loftus is promising to “stop the car break-in epidemic” in San Francisco. As Mayor London Breed’s interim district attorney appointee, she is using the opportunity to tackle the issue in an official capacity. 

Interim District Attorney Suzy Loftus announced Thursday that her office, the San Francisco Police Department, the Sheriff’s Department and the California Highway Patrol are launching an auto burglary task force called “Operation Tangled Web.” The effort will focus on hot spots and small commercial corridors known for auto break-ins.

The task force, a two-month operation that began Friday, will also target organized retail theft and fencing, where an individual knowingly buys stolen items and resells them for a profit.

Loftus said at a press conference Thursday that as of September, San Francisco averaged 70 reported auto break-ins per day.

Loftus said:

“We have to get to work. It’s going to take all of us to deal with this crisis, including the public and including all of these incredible law enforcement agencies.”

City officials said the key word is collaboration. Loftus acknowledged that law enforcement officials have passed the buck in past years, shifting  blame for the rampant auto burglary problem.

Jerold Chinn/SFBay San Francisco Interim District Attorney Suzy Loftus announced a new task force focused on car break-ins at a press conference in San Francisco, Calif., on Thursday, October 31, 2019.

Loftus said:

“What this day is about is us working collaboratively going forward.”

Police Chief Bill Scott said so far this year, just over 20,000 car break-ins have been reported, which reflects a slight decrease from last year’s total.

Scott said:

“Although we’ve had modest reduction this year, it’s not enough. These crimes hurt our city.”

Ernie Sanchez, who heads the California Highway Patrol’s Golden Gate Division, issued a warning to would-be offenders.

Sanchez said

“If you are into the business of retail theft, committing auto burglaries, do not get tangled in our web. As you can see our web is significant.”

Loftus said her office will review data collected during the two-month task force operation to identify methods are most effective. 

Loftus and other law enforcement officials are asking the public to report auto break-ins and theft of stolen items to the police and the DA’s office. The DA’s office has established a website where victims can submit videos, photos, license plate numbers and any other evidence related to break-in incidents.

The public can also send evidence by emailing SFDA.AutoBurgTips@sfgov.org.

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 jerold@sfbay.ca or at Twitter @Jerold_Chinn.

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