San Francisco

Officials Seek Drastic Measures to Stop San Francisco Car Burglaries

It seems like every neighborhood in San Francisco is falling victim to car break-ins, prompting city officials to take drastic measures.

Deshawn Patton, 21, from San Francisco is being taken to court for 18 car break-ins dating back to 2016. The District Attorney says it is the only way they could get him into court and in front of a grand jury for an indictment as officials say he kept bailing out of jail for individual break-ins.

"We knew he was going to bail," said San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon. "We knew he had the money to bail and where was the money coming from? Guess what, it was from stealing and ripping people off."

Of more than 30,000 car break-ins in 2017, less than 2 percent result in an arrest, so Gascon wants a million dollars to dedicate three analysts and two prosecutors to a new car burglar task force that would handle that crime exclusively.

"We can go to a grand jury, we can bring enough evidence to consolidate cases, we can make arguments about bail source, he said. "That kind of work requires a lot of people."

However, Mayor Mark Farrell is not convinced claiming burglaries in street garages are down sharply because of lights, cameras and a foot patrol officer.

"To me, a task force is not what is needed right now," Farrell said. "We need action on the ground, we need to install these cameras we need dedicated beat patrol officers that’s what’s making a difference on the ground.”

Though the mayor is not sure how San Francisco got into the epidemic of car burglars, he said he was interested in looking forward and not in the rearview mirror.

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