SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – A shocking video shows tourists trying to stop smash-and-grab thieves in San Francisco.
The victims are seen clinging onto a speeding car in an attempt to get their stuff back. One of them was thrown from the vehicle. It’s another case of smash-and-grab crime that continues to plague the city.
On Thursday, San Francisco supervisor Dean Preston sponsored a hearing on strategies to stop the car break-ins. Data presented at the hearing showed most of these cases do not get solved, but there was hope that some sort of solution could be crafted.
“Folks are understandably frustrated,” Preston said. “And visitors to our city are not only losing money and property but are often left traumatized and with a very bad experience in our city.”
San Francisco government data shows the city experiences more than 20,000 break-ins per year and only about 1% of those result in arrests.
San Francisco Police Department field operation bureau commander Derrick Jackson says the department has deployed bait cars. He also explained some tactics being used by thieves.
“The criminal element operates predominately during the daylight hours,” he said. “They often target tourist areas. Suspects usually utilize countersurveillance and attempt to identify police operations.”
Commander Jackson added that the burglars usually speed away. Supervisor Preston says the arrest rate of only 1-2% in reported car break-in cases seems low, but SFPD lieutenant Stephen Jonas countered that.
“It’s my experience that one suspect in a day working as part of a group could be responsible for several dozen auto burglaries in one day,” he said.
Police have promised more patrols to address the problem. Preston suggests a multi-departmental messaging campaign to not leave valuables behind.
“We need to set a goal in terms of a specified reduction in car break-ins and commit together to achieve that,” he said.
There was no formal vote taken on any legislation at Thursday’s hearing. Another hearing on car break-ins is likely to take place before anything is brought before the full board.