San Francisco

‘If You Love It, Don't Leave It:' San Francisco Announces New Plan to Tackle ‘Epidemic' Car Break-Ins

San Francisco Mayor Mark Farrell and San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott on Thursday announced a new campaign to curb car break-ins in the city.

SFPD has boosted efforts in collecting fingerprints from crime scenes. And now, the agency along with the city has introduced Park Smart, which raises awareness about how to park safely in city streets. One of the main things police emphasize is to not to leave any valuables in the car when you’re not there.

"A crime prevented is a much better than a crime solved. Avoid becoming an easy target by not leaving your valuables in unattended vehicles. 'If you love it, don't leave it.'"

Hidden cameras revealed a rare view of an “epidemic” as car break-ins hit a record high of nearly 30,000 in San Francisco, the NBC Bay Area invetsigative unit found.

The SF Chronicle reported that car break-ins fell 17 percent from January through March, compared with the same period last year, per police data.

An NBC Bay Area hidden-camera investigation provided a rare glimpse into a rising surge of criminal activity across San Francisco that continues to prey on the city's most famed landmarks and popular tourist destinations.

San Francisco's nearly 30,000 car break-ins last year shattered previous crime records and illustrate an organized and elaborate crime operation that law enforcement calls an "epidemic."

"You have to have a garage [in San Francisco] to keep your car parked outside," said San Francisco resident and break-in victim Hamza Mabrouk.

Alamo Square, the famed home of San Francisco’s Painted Ladies, is ground zero.

"I swear man, once a month my car was broken into it," said Susie Wren who has lived in Alamo Square Park for 26 years. "And I finally just got rid of it!"

Car Break-Ins Reported to San Francisco Police

• 2014: 22,029

• 2015: 26,040

• 2016: 24,624

• 2017: 28,984

(source: San Francisco District Attorney's Office)

Of the nearly 30,000 car break-ins in San Francisco last year, the police department made arrests in just 1.7 percent of cases, totalling 790 arrests, according to data provided by the police department and district attorney’s office. Of those taken into custody, most were never sentenced to jail time.

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