Residents of San Francisco might want to be more careful about what valuables they leave in their cars, especially overnight. Crime statistics show that car burglaries are up in the city. This refers to simple and fast smash-and-grab techniques: the burglar breaks the window and grabs whatever is lying around in the car and runs away. Any car, regardless of its worth, is a prime target.
Not all neighborhoods are equally affected, though. The Northern District, for example, saw a 7% decrease in car burglaries with a total of 1,037 bust-ins over an eight month period compared to 1,132 over the same period in the previous year. This is not at all indicative of the current state of San Francisco as car burglaries are up by 6% citywide.
What is even more worrisome is the fact that actual figured may be even higher than that, as a lot of people that suffer car break-ins do not report them to the police. One such example is IT specialist Alvin Johnson who’s vehicle was broken into recently. However, the robber only made off with some change and a baseball cap. If he were to report this, his insurance premiums would have increased, thus leading to a more substantial loss than the actual break-in.
These burglaries are not only nighttime affairs, either. Recently, Jay Yadegar, a jeweler in San Francisco, went to visit a friend in the middle of the afternoon, parked his car and went inside for no more than 20 minutes. When he came out his car window was broken and his iPhone which he left to charge was gone. It shows that these are crimes of opportunity. Burglars prowl the streets of San Francisco looking for cars with valuable items inside. They break the window and leave with the goods which doesn’t take longer than a few minutes.
Northern Station Police Captain Ann Mannix urges people not to leave anything of value inside their cars unattended for any length of time. Extra caution is needed especially in tourist-heavy areas such as St. Mary’s Cathedral or Japantown. Tourists are likely to be more unaware of the current problem and more inclined to leave valuable items or even purses inside their cars.
Insurance companies are divided over the point of calling the police when this happens. They know the chances of catching the criminal, convicting him and regaining the stolen goods are almost zero. However, some auto insurance agents still stress the need to contact the police in order to provide more accurate crime statistics. In turn, this can lead to more steps taken in order to alleviate the problem.