SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – “We didn’t know it could happen in 10 minutes.”
A 10-minute tour of the Palace of Fine Arts is all it took for thieves to break into this Florida family’s rental car and steal a backpack that was partially tucked under the seat.
“Next time we will know, will there be a next time? San Francisco? Not maybe, but if we go to another big city we will be more careful,” visitor Stephanie Perret said.
It’s a familiar story… Earlier in the month Patrick Goddard’s car was broken into at the same location, and as he called police he witnesses another break-in a half a block away.
“It was incredibly shocking and brazen and we were just what is going on?” said visitor Patrick Goddard.
What’s going on is San Francisco’s car break-in epidemic is getting worse.
Citywide from April to May, auto break-ins are up 42%, and in the central police district which includes Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39, vehicle break-ins are up 94% from April to May.
“It’s difficult to have an officer on every corner but we know where these events happen traditionally but we have not been able to sustain the deployment needed to make a dent in that over time,” SF police chief Bill Scott said.
San Francisco police chief Bill Scott says vehicle break-ins dropped from 2018 to 2020, but it’s been unsustainable due to staffing shortages, which he hopes this Mayors’ proposed budget will help.
In the meantime, he says they are doing what they can.
“We have been putting special details together, moving people around from one district to the next our tactical unit has been used to supplement deployment, hopefully in this budget, we will get some of our overtime restored so we can have these special details we have put a lot more people on patrol.
Police advise resident and tourists not to leave anything visible in your car.
As a result of the break-in spike, glass repair companies are seeing a big boost in business.
“Every morning, there’s broken glass outside. It’s just casual now,” mechanic Kevin Abuyaghi said.
Mechanics say it can cost between $500 – $800 to repair, and the process isn’t easy.