Since last summer we've been talking about the recent spike in petty crime, in particular car burglaries and car thefts, and new numbers out of the SFPD suggest that car break-ins in particular have gone up nearly 50 percent since last year alone. And that's crazy.
As NBC Bay Area reports, the problem is citywide, but the uptick has been noticed particularly around SoMa, Mission Bay/Mission Rock, and on Potrero Hill. Owners of Potrero restaurant Skool have even taken to posting warnings to customers after as many as five cars were broken into nearby on a single night.
I've personally noticed the more regular sight of broken window glass on all sides of Alamo Square.
The economy and the way it impacts the sense of income disparity from criminals' perspective is likely partially to blame, but local restaurateur Pete Osborne, who owns Mission Rock Resort, also blames Prop 47, which California voters approved in 2014, and which reduces penalties for petty, non-violent crimes.
Therefore, if thieves even get caught with stolen property (as long as it's under $950), all they get is a slap on the wrist, "and those guys are back on the street that same night," says Osborne.
Police spokesperson Albie Esparza said as much last month when the last report on crime statistics came out, calling the punishment for such crimes, "nothing more than a citation."
The intention of the law is of course to save taxpayers money on unnecessary incarcerations, and to combat prison over-crowding. But this may be an unintended consequence of the measure.
Esparza also noted the increase in the population living and working and SoMa as one factor in the huge jump (87%) in car burglaries there.
And Public Defender Jeff Adachi cited the "tale of two cities" happening, with the great income disparities between tech workers and 23 percent of residents living below the poverty line.
The near 50-percent uptick in car burglaries citywide has been noted since April, when ABC7 reported that one car-window replacement shop in the Bayview was so busy, particularly on Mondays and Fridays, that they couldn't break for lunch.