Major crimes see drop in South City

Thanks to the diligence of residents, authorities say, most major crimes dropped from 2006 to 2007, the most updated results from the Police Department.

“We have great cooperation from the community — they’ll always call us and tell us when something is going on,” Capt. Mike Massoni said.

Massoni said the accessibility of the department’s community relations officer and two school liaison officers have also successfully created a positive image of the police.

Worrisome, however, is a significant jump in grand and petty thefts.

Massoni, who has worked for the Police Department for 28 years, said copper thefts are responsible for a large portion of new grand thefts. He said the rise in copper thefts reflects a national trend.

Also, petty thefts are rising while more serious burglaries and robberies are not because petty thefts are an easier crime to commit, according to police.

“Petty theft is an easier crime — you put something in your pocket and you don’t have to confront anyone like with a robbery, and you don’t have to break in like in a burglary,” Massoni said.

He said more than $1 million has been stolen through pocket-picking, shoplifting, purse-snatching and car break-ins in South San Francisco. Another $800,000 was taken in residential and nonresidential burglaries for the last year.

Despite the ominous increases in theft, former Councilmember Joe Fernekes, who has lived in South City since 1970, said he felt safer now.

Authorities said the impending recession, however, could be a bad sign for the positive crime statistics.

“Crime depends on the economy — when economy is bad, crime goes up and you have people stealing,” he said.

svasilyuk@examiner.com 

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