Police Chief Bill Scott said an increase in burglaries citywide began in March, around the time San Francisco issued shelter-in-place orders. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>

Police Chief Bill Scott said an increase in burglaries citywide began in March, around the time San Francisco issued shelter-in-place orders. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

‘Prolific’ offenders help drive 46% surge in SF burglaries

San Francisco police are having trouble keeping up with a roughly 46 percent surge in home and commercial burglaries this year that authorities suspect is being driven in part by chronic offenders.

Officers have cleared less than 12 percent of burglary cases this year as of Sunday compared to about 16 percent at this time last year, with reports of burglaries swelling from 4,715 to 6,895 during the same time frame, according to data released by the San Francisco Police Department.

While FBI crime data from 2019 shows the 12 percent clearance rate is still in line with other U.S. cities of comparable size, Police Chief Bill Scott addressed several issues facing the department during a virtual discussion Wednesday with District Attorney Chesa Boudin.

Part of the problem is officers being overwhelmed by the sudden uptick in burglaries that began around the time San Francisco ordered residents to shelter in place in mid-March, Scott said. Another is serial burglars continuing to offend after being arrested and released from custody.

The department has compiled a list of 30 such offenders, Scott said. Some are believed to be responsible for as many as 30 known burglaries, and may also be connected to larger enterprises and even international fencing operations.

“We have identified some individuals who are prolific and we have to deal with that,” Scott said. “We have just got to figure out a solution.”

Holding those serial burglars “accountable” could have a positive impact on the rising burglary rate, Scott said.

While the District Attorney’s Office is often blamed for the prevalence of crime, Boudin said his office can only take action on the fraction of burglary cases presented by police.

Prosecutors have filed charges in nearly 66 percent of cases presented to them so far this year, according to a spokesperson for Boudin. More broadly, the office took actions such as filing motions to revoke probation in roughly 82 percent of the cases.

When it comes to repeat offenders, the problem for Boudin is a lack of social services. He said the criminal justice system needs a “richer, more complex array of options to intervene in some of those difficult cases.”

“If my office is able to work with the courts and probation and other agencies downstream to do a more effective job with some of the more prolific folks, then you are going to see your clearance rates go up and we are going to see crime trends go down,” Boudin told Scott.

Every police district in San Francisco except Bayview has seen a rise in reported burglaries so far in 2020, according to the SFPD data.

Park Station, which includes areas like the Haight, has experienced the sharpest increase with a more than 113 percent jump from 266 to 569 cases.

But the station most impacted by burglary is Northern, which includes neighborhoods from Pacific Heights to the Western Addition.

Northern Station has recorded a nearly 70 percent spike in burglaries from 836 to 1,420.

The latest police data for burglary and other crimes can be viewed here. The department’s clearance rates are also available here.

mbarba@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsCrimesan francisco news

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

From left, California state Sen. Milton Marks, Sen. Nicholas Petris, Assemblyman John Knox and activists Claire Dedrick, Sylvia McLaughlin and Janet Adams watch Gov. Ronald Reagan sign the bill establishing the Bay Conservation and Development Commission as a permanent agency in 1969. (Courtesy Save The Bay)
Sixty years of Saving San Francisco Bay

Pioneering environmental group was started by three ladies on a mission

Temporary high-occupancy vehicle lanes will be added to sections of state Highway 1 and U.S. Highway 101, including Park Presidio Boulevard, to keep traffic flowing as The City reopens. <ins>(Ekevara Kitpowsong/Special to S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Transit and high-occupancy vehicle lanes coming to some of The City’s busiest streets

Changes intended to improve transit reliability as traffic increases with reopening

Tents filled up a safe camping site in a former parking lot at 180 Jones St. in the Tenderloin in June 2020.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Proposal for major expansion of safe sleeping sites gets cool reception in committee

Supervisor Mandelman calls for creation of more temporary shelter sites to get homeless off streets

A surplus of	mice on the Farallon Islands have caused banded burrowing owls to stay year round instead of migrating, longtime researchers say. <ins>(Courtesy Point Blue Conservation Science)</ins>
Farallon Islands researchers recommend eradicating mice

The Farallon Islands comprise three groups of small islands located nearly 30… Continue reading

Once we can come and go more freely, will people gather the way they did before COVID? <ins>(Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner file photo)</ins>
What happens when the pandemic is over?

After experiencing initial excitement, I wonder just how much I’ll go out

Most Read