Crime in San Francisco — especially robberies and car break-ins — rose in the first fourth months of the year, according to the police department’s latest numbers.
“We find ourselves in reactive mode more than proactive mode,” said Cpt. David Lazar, who commands the Central police district which patrols the Chinatown and North Beach areas, and has seen the some of the highest rates of property crimes in The City.
Major violent crimes citywide rose by 19 percent compared to the same period last year and major property crimes by 16 percent, according to the police.
Specifically, the type of violent crime that rose the most was robbery, increasing by 30 percent across The City from 973 to 1,268 incidents in the first quarter of the year. Car break-ins marked the highest rate of increase for property crimes with a 38 percent jump from 5,456 to 7,553. Homicides are up 280 percent as of the end of April, with 18 compared to 5 at the end of April last year.
Arson also rose from 75 to 105 so far this year.
The district with the most violent crime in this period was Southern. Covering mostly South of Market and parts of the Financial District, the Southern police district saw robberies rise 52 percent from 157 in the first part of 2014 to 239 during the same time in 2015.
That Southern district also had the highest number of car break ins, seeing an 87 percent increase from the previous year with 1,908 so far this year compared to 1,290 last year.
“There’s been a bit of an increase, yes,” said Capt. Jerome DeFilippo about car break-ins. “We’re addressing it.”
The auto break-ins are most often a crime of opportunity, he said. While police tell people not to leave things of value in sight, most of the reports he sees indicate that something was left in sight in a car. “Hide your valuables.”
The Southern district, DeFilipo said, has seen a big rise in robberies for many reasons, but the main one is that it has some of The City’s major transit lines, nightclubs and lots of pedestrians with cell phones walking along Market Street.
There are a lot of snatch-and-grabs classified as robberies. “You don’t need to be on that phone 24-7,” he noted.