San Francisco parking garages have seen a dramatic drop in car break-ins, and the city's transportation agency believes a change in operations and technology made a difference.
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency says there has been 72 percent fewer break-ins at city garages, especially those that are somewhat automated, where workers can get out of their booths and spot things that might be suspicious.
Manager Rob Malone says garages that had technology and equipment upgrades recently are seeing a payoff in customer service and security. There are brighter lights, payment machines that allow workers who used to be in booths to walk around, cameras with intercoms to help customers and cameras near entrances and exits.
"We’re able to quickly provide not only video but high-definition video that gives excellent clarity of faces, which is very important to the PD," Malone said, adding that in a few cases, off-duty police officers have come on board. Drivers say they’re surprised by the decline in break-ins but always mindful of the risks.
"I've only had my car broken into one time," one driver said. "It's always a concern, but you gotta be prepared."
So far, 10 of the city’s garages have the new systems in place, and three are in progress. The SFMTA hopes to have all 20 done within the next year.