The rampant car break-ins in San Francisco that police have struggled to wrangle continued to spread this year, with the latest crime stats showing a 28 percent increase in auto burglaries citywide.
The San Francisco Police Department released the numbers this week in response to a public records request from the San Francisco Examiner. As of last month, there were 17,970 reported car break-ins citywide compared to the 13,995 reported as of the same time in 2016.
Car break-ins in San Francisco have led to high-profile events like the killing of a 71-year-old man at the Twin Peaks lookout last month. The weapon that killed Kate Steinle in the 2015 case that has drawn national attention was stolen from a federal agent’s vehicle in Fisherman’s Wharf.
The upward trend is a departure from last year. Car break-ins saw an 18 percent drop between January and July 2016, compared to that same period the year prior.
SFPD spokesperson David Stevenson could not offer a reason for the uptick in car break-ins, but said police plan to respond with more uniformed officers on the streets.
“The numbers reflect a trend that requires further analysis,” Stevenson said in an email. “Chief [Bill] Scott has directed the Department to increase its uniformed presence on city streets to deter these and other quality of life crimes.”
The crime stats show that Mission Station recorded the most dramatic increase in car break-ins, with reported auto burglaries nearly tripling as of July compared to last year.
The station, which includes the Mission District and other neighborhoods, recorded a 182 percent spike from 601 to 1,693 car break-ins.
“I’m not surprised and I’m angry,” said Supervisor Hillary Ronen, who represents the area. “My constituents are angry about the epidemic of car break-ins in San Francisco and my district as well.”
Ronen said she would reach out to Supervisor Norman Yee to see if he is interested in reintroducing legislation that would create property crime units in each station.
“It has not felt like The City has taken this seriously enough or has had an adequate response,” Ronen said.
Ronen said the units could pay attention to car break-in hot spots like the parking lot at the Potrero Avenue Safeway.
Mayor Ed Lee vetoed Yee’s community policing legislation last October.
The mayor’s spokesperson did not return a request for comment Wednesday.
The police station with the most car break-ins so far this year was Northern Station, which includes North Beach and other neighborhoods that are frequented by tourists.
There were 4,003 reported auto burglaries in Northern Station, a 40 percent increase.
The only station to report a decrease was Bayview Station.
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