Theft at Bay Area Airports

The Investigative Unit breaks down the numbers of thefts at Bay Area Airports

 Summer means vacation season and Bay Area families are jet setting. But wherever your ticket is taking you, you want to get there safe and sound.

Luggage included.

The NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit requested crime data from local law enforcement agencies and a decade of data from the Transportation Security Administration on missing items.

In addition, the investigation looked at five years of crime data from law enforcement at the Bay Area’s three major airports and the most reported crime reported here is theft.

Not surprisingly, San Francisco International Airport, the Bay Area’s busiest airport in terms of passenger boarding, had the most reported thefts.

“Your heart just sinks,” Becky Dru told NBC Bay Area about her bag that never returned to SFO with her from London.

She landed at SFO last year and her bags never came out.

“It was an invasion of privacy,” Becky said, “You just have no idea where it could possibly be.”

“The biggest challenge is the size of the campus and people accessing it,” SFO spokesperson Mike McCarron told NBC Bay Area when asked about theft at the airport.

However, with about 1,500 cameras scattered throughout SFO, they’re on the lookout.

“In most cases, it is a fellow passenger or someone who had lawful business for being here,” San Francisco Deputy Police Chief David Shinn said: “I will put it this way, a lot of times it is a crime of opportunity.”

The Transportation and Security Administration also tracks missing items.

To see items reported missing to the TSA from any airport in the US, click here.

The TSA posts a database of lost items on their web site: from eyeglasses to lap tops.
According to its statistics, Oakland had the most items reported missing.

“We have full-time 24/7 coverage here at the Oakland Airport,” Sergeant J.D. Nelson with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office told NBC Bay Area.

Another popular incident at Oakland airport is intoxication.

“You get people, like anywhere else, that drink too much, flight anxiety, or things of that nature,” Nelson said.

Records show officers frequently respond to calls for passengers who’ve had a few too many…those driving under the influence and disturbing the peace.

Another valuable you need to keep an eye on is your car. SFO had the most reported stolen with around 350 followed by San Jose and Oakland with around a hundred since 2007. But to give some perspective, more than 700 cars were at stolen BART station parking lots just last year.

“From the point where you let go of your luggage, you have no control of what happens to that luggage,” local security consultant Randy Cook said. “You have law enforcement there in large numbers. You have security cameras there in large numbers and people monitoring those activities taking place."

Despite the cameras and security, Becky Dru says she knows all too well that things can go wrong.

When the Investigative Unit asked if she had given up on ever finding her lost luggage, Dur responded, “absolutely, there have been a few tears along the way.”

Web Extra:

SFO Communications director Mike McCarron takes us behind the scenes of SFO's communication center. 

It's a place the public is not allowed and is rarely seen by the media. 

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