In a new take on trying to get rid of SF's reputation as a car break-in hot spot, business groups are offering six-figure sums for information leading to arrests of a suspected smash-and-grab syndicate.
With the return of tourism comes the return of smashed windows and automobile burglaries. The rate of these crimes is ticking back up as life returns to normal, and as high-profile visitors come to our fair city, it does substantial reputational damage when they get their cars broken into. Australian vocalist Clinton Kane is the latest, whose Instagram post from last week details “a gun pointed to our faces and everything was stolen.”
As such, Mayor Breed on Tuesday announced rewards of up to $100,000 for information leading to what the Chronicle calls “information leading to the arrest and conviction of the leaders of the organized criminal fencing rings.” Breed has previously asserted, probably correctly, that a very small number of organized groups is responsible for most San Francisco automobile break-ins.
“Just imagine going to visit the most beautiful city in the world and coming back to your car and actually witnessing someone breaking into your car ... and holding you hostage at gunpoint,” Breed at a Fisherman’s Wharf address Tuesday. “That situation would make you think differently about San Francisco. It is tragic. It is really embarrassing for our city. It is frustrating. And it gives people the impression that it’s not safe to come here.”
Small Business Commission president Sharky Laguana agreed that organized crime rings are behind the break-ins. “These are the guys making lots of money,” he told the Chronicle. “Right now they are acting with impunity. They believe they are invulnerable. And they are mistaken.”
The money all comes from a total of $225,000 donated so far by tourism-related trade groups in the city. So wait a minute... if they’re offering “up to $100,000,” but there is only $225,000 in the pot, are only 2.25 people eligible for the reward? It sounds like no one’s actually going to get the full $100,000, and the size of your reward is dependent on some diligent and effective police work leading to the capture of someone in high command of a criminal syndicate. And if you’re depending on SFPD to solve a case, understand that they do not always solve these cases quickly.
Image: @alfred_twu via Twitter