All around Alamo Square, in the plain light of day, you can likely hear the sound of glass shattering. The problem is heightening, perhaps just with the summer tourism rush, near the crooked part of Lombard Street too, as we heard just last week, but around Alamo Square I've personally witnessed two tourist vans the white kind that large European families rent broken into in mid-afternoon, the bewildered Europeans dealing with the SFPD and the rental company in the aftermath, just in the last three days. Glass bits litter the sidewalks on all four sides of the park, and a scan of CrimeMapping, not counting car break-ins reported in the morning (which likely happened overnight), I count 30 break-ins reported during daylight hours, mostly between noon and 8 p.m., in the last three weeks.
Last week, ABC 7 reported that car break-ins around Alamo Square alone are actually averaging six per day, making it kind of surprising that SF cops aren't there to witness the next break-in right in front of them when they show up to take the report on the first one.
The uptick has led to the installation of signs like the one you see below, taped to a lamppost near Lombard Street, but I've seen none of these around Alamo Square itself, meaning most of these tourists are arriving thinking this looks like a nice neighborhood though anyone who's ever driven in an American city should know better than to leave ANYTHING visible in the car, sad as that is.
Tourists beware!! Spike in car burglaries at tourist spots in SF. Many cars still have bags and purses in back seat!!!! pic.twitter.com/GYwEy1kgZv— Vic Lee (@vicleeabc7) July 4, 2017
Car break-ins have been a problem in just about every neighborhood in SF for years, but criminals have gotten more brazen with these daylight thefts have you seen how many people are swarming Alamo Square, particularly the Painted Ladies side on Steiner Street, on any given day? That's right where these things are happening. This is likely to inspire more calls for greater police presence and more arguments about whether SF has essentially decriminalized these types of crimes.
In one example you can see on the CrimeMapping map of Alamo Square, likely the same thief worked his/her way down Steiner Street on July 5, breaking into two cars within a block of each other within an hour of each other.
As we heard in March, the tiled steps at 16th and Moraga have become another popular spot for break-ins as tourists flock there, with thieves casing cars as soon as they park, and even, allegedly, telling tourists to "make sure" they climb all the way to the top.
Tell your tourist friends: Beware anyone who tells you to "make sure" to go get Bi-Rite ice cream before leaving the Alamo Square neighborhood.