Automobile break-ins surge in San Francisco’s vacationer spots

SAN FRANCISCO, California (KRON) – “We didn’t know it could happen in 10 minutes.”

A 10-minute tour of the Palace of Fine Arts is all it takes for thieves to break into this Florida family’s rental car and steal a backpack that was partially tucked under the seat.

Car break-ins at San Francisco’s tourist attractions up 750%

“The next time we’ll know, will there be a next time? San Francisco? Maybe not, but if we go to another big city we’ll be more careful, ”said visitor Stephanie Perret.

It’s a well-known story … earlier this month Patrick Goddard’s car was broken into at the same location and when he called the police he witnessed another break-in half a block away.

“It was incredibly shocking and bold and we were exactly what was going on?” said visitor Patrick Goddard.

What is going on is that the auto-break-in epidemic in San Francisco is worsening.

Car break-ins rose 42% across the city from April to May, and in the central police district, which includes Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39, vehicle break-ins increased 94% from April to May.

“It is difficult to have an officer on every corner, but we know where these events traditionally take place, but we have not been able to sustain the effort that is required to make a dent over time,” said SF Police Chief Bill Scott.

San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott says vehicle break-ins decreased from 2018 to 2020 but were unsustainable due to staff shortages, which he hopes the budget proposed by mayors will help.

In the meantime, he says they do what they can.

“We put together special details that move people from one district to the next, our tactical unit was used to complement the operation, sending a lot more people on patrol.

The police advise residents and tourists not to leave anything visible in their car.

As a result of the break-in spurt, glass repair companies are experiencing a big boost in business.

“Every morning there are broken glass outside. It’s just cool now, ”said mechanic Kevin Abuyaghi.

Mechanics say it can cost anywhere from $ 500 to $ 800 to repair, and the process isn’t easy.

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