SFPD focuses on auto crimes 

San Francisco police say they are cracking down on auto thefts and auto burglaries, which continue to plague certain neighborhoods, including SoMa and The Embarcadero.

Police released statistics Monday that showed violent crime dropped 12 percent and property crime dropped 21 percent during the first 23 days of the year, compared to the same period last year.

Still, there were more than 13,000 auto break-ins last year, a trend police say they are aggressively trying to curb.

“The numbers are tremendous,” Supervisor David Chiu said during the board’s Monday Public Safety Committee hearing. “We need to do everything we can to attack the crime.”

Chiu said he’s so concerned about the auto theft problems in his district, which includes North Beach and Chinatown, that he’s considering drafting legislation that would require parking garage operators to increase security at lots citywide.

Police said auto burglaries and thefts have been on the radar since the department allowed officers to take fingerprint samples at crime scenes, which started four weeks ago. 

Between Jan. 1 and 23, police arrested 11 people on suspicion of auto theft, but they could not say how many of those were the result of the new fingerprinting system.

At the committee hearing, board members peppered Capt. Michael Biel with questions about how the Police Department plans to further combat auto thefts and break-ins.

Biel said he’s in the process of creating an “action plan,” drawing more heavily on patrol officers and investigators. He said thieves are primarily stealing older-model Japanese cars, and they are breaking into vehicles to steal something as small as a $1 bill or something as valuable as a laptop. 

“We have a small amount of auto burglars committing a large amount of crime,” Biel said. “If we can target those individuals and catch them in the act, then we can bring that rate down.”

 

Mapping The City’s crime

Under new Police Chief George Gascon, the department is attempting to better track The City’s crime using Compstat method. On Moday police reporters the following crimes occurred between Dec. 27 2009 and Jan. 23 2010. Police also said that the officers would be targeting car burglars and auto theifs that have been plaguing in SoMa and The Embarcadaro.

4 homicides
13 rapes
242 robberies
335 burglaries
251 auto thefts
719 burglaries from a vehicle
17 arsons

esherber@sfexaminer.com

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Erin Sherbert

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