- Associated Press - Sunday, August 16, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Authorities say there has been a 47 percent spike in car break-ins in San Francisco in the first half of this year, an increase that had led to finger pointing among officials and left many angry victims.

According to the San Francisco Police Department there were 11,917 reported vehicle burglaries in the city from January through June. It’s escalated 62 percent from 2013, during the same period. And it’s skyrocketed 171 percent from 2010, a year that had 4,396 reported vehicle burglaries between January and the end of June, according to city data, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Sunday (https://bit.ly/1Kq8nZC).

“We’ve seen an absolute explosion of auto break-ins,” said San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener, who represents District Eight, which includes the Castro, Noe Valley and parts of the Mission. “There are areas in my district where you’ll have 10 cars on a single block that have been broken into.”

The marauders, who operate both under cover of darkness and in broad daylight, creep into nearly every neighborhood in the city from Nob Hill to the Marina, ransacking vehicles regardless of what they may find, and nearly always avoiding capture.

The real number of break-in is likely much higher because many victims have given up on going through the hassle of reporting the crime, the Chronicle reported.

San Francisco police officials say two recent statewide criminal justice reforms that reduced penalties for non-violent crimes are at the root of the problem.

Other experts warn to that as definitive causes for rising property crime in San Francisco may be misguided.

“Nothing is harder to establish than causes of crime-rate changes - that’s especially true in the short run where there are so many volatile issues going on,” said Robert Weisberg, a professor of criminal law at Stanford Law School.


Information from: San Francisco Chronicle, https://www.sfgate.com

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