Bernal Heights Crime Report for March 2013: iGadget Crime Wave, Garage Door Opener Thefts, and Protect Your Honda


Neighbor Sarah, your vigilant volunteer Bernal Heights crime reporter, attended the SFPD Ingleside Community meeting last week, and she filed these terrific summary notes on the latest Bernal Heights crime trends. Read on and stay safe:

Ingleside Community Meeting, 3/19/13

Captain Tim Falvey presided.


Increase in robberies  +43% this month, iPhones and iPads are often the targets. Lately, 63% of robberies have occurred in the second half of the month. They do not know why. SFPD is ramping up abatement operations during that timeframe.

The captain mentioned an article in the Examiner about how the telecom industry has not been as helpful in the US as its counterparts in other countries have been at adding features that will decrease incentives for phone theft. For example, in Australia and the UK, a stolen phone can be permanently disabled. DA Gascon has suggested that the cell phone makers have perverse incentives not to do this because they want you to have to buy another phone to fulfill your contract.

Arrests are WAY up. Two suspects were arrested on 3/19 after they beat up some girls to get their phones. They were “not the brightest tools in the shed” because they were located nearby, hiding in bushes and splitting the profits. One was a known juvenile offender who just turned 18.

Burglaries – spreading the word about the trend where thieves steal garage-door openers from parked cars and then open garage later, stealing bikes and anything else. So far, presumably by chance, all the garages have been standalone and did not lead into the main house – otherwise, these could have been much worse. Do NOT leave your garage-door opener in your car – it’s like leaving your house key.

Lots of firearm seizures this year – 12 vs 5 last year. Recently made an arrest in a robbery with a gun – victim had known the suspect and had his license plate number.

Even though SFPD just got email a couple of years ago and are generally behind the times technologically, one area that has exploded is video – SFPD shares lots of video among all officers (from MUNI, businesses, etc) via email, and he estimates that 30% of the time, an officer recognizes the suspect in the video. One key thing – if you or your business have video, know how to use it, download it, etc. Many people do not.

Reminder – do not use your phone near the doors on MUNI. Lots and lots of thefts occur this way. Also, do not leave your laptop in your car, even for a second. Lots of thefts lately. Same with backpacks, even if they are empty. Finally, some people have left bikes in cars and gotten those stolen lately.

Auto thefts down a little – recoveries outpacing stolen vehicles. If you have a Honda from the 1990s, get the lock re-keyed, or have a club, or a lock on brake/gas pedal. One tip – if you ever locate your own stolen car, DO NOT DRIVE IT HOME. Police may see you and think you’ve stolen it (if you’ve reported it as being stolen).

Ingleside is doing a Fugitive Recovery operation soon – checking on parolees and people on probation, working with multiple agencies.

Ingleside also continues to do traffic calming in certain busy areas. If you see the radar trailer for a few days and then it disappears, be confident that enforcement (ie, tickets) will follow.

The captain often mentions the “three Es” of law enforcement: education, environment, and enforcement. Recently someone suggested a fourth E to him – ethics. One application of this is that you should not buy stolen goods – if you do, you’re part of the problem. If you’re buying a $3000 bike for $300, or getting a good deal on an iPhone at a sketchy corner store, you are part of the problem. And, by the way, it is a crime to possess property that is stolen or that you should know is stolen.


National Night Out – Tuesday, August 6, Miraloma Park Improvement Club.

The Community Police Advisory Board will be doing several meetings in the community (including Bernal) this year.

The PAL Cadet Program – applications due early April. This is a summer program for 14-20-year-olds. Police academy training, then internship. Information on SFPD website. Participants must have a 2.0 GPA and stay in school. Statistics for staying in school are compelling. Something like 94% of homicide victims are dropouts. 90% of murderers are dropouts. 75% of people in San Quentin are dropouts.

Ret. Sgt. Mark Hernandez working with Capt. Lazar on ALERT program – Auxiliary Law Enforcement Response Team. Like NERT, but for law enforcement after disaster. Must complete NERT training first.

The Neighborhood Court program continues to look for people to be volunteer adjudicators for low-level cases dealt with through restorative justice.

Next meeting – April 16, 7pm. Jennifer Choi of the City Attorney’s office will be attendance to talk about how to deal with problem houses through city code enforcement – houses with drug activity, hoarding problems, places crimes keep occurring, etc.


Rani Singh of the DA’s office was in attendance –; 415-753-7703 (w). She is onsite at Ingleside in the mornings.

One final random bit of trivia from this meeting – there is a law that states you cannot loiter within 21 feet of an ATM.

PHOTO: Telstar Logistics

5 thoughts on “Bernal Heights Crime Report for March 2013: iGadget Crime Wave, Garage Door Opener Thefts, and Protect Your Honda

  1. Call the police on a non-emergency line and they will send an officer to meet you and do a release of the car with you present (be able to prove it’s your car etc.)……doesn’t take that long and you avoid the grand larceny experience as a result.

  2. Thanks for the updates.

    I find it hard to believe that 94% of homocide victims are high school drop outs. Can you offer a source for that statistic?

    Thanks, Shelley

    • It was Captain Falvey quoting Chief Suhr. I did some Googling and found this, which doesn’t include the victim number: “According to Chief Suhr, high school graduates live nine years longer than non-grads and earn paychecks 50% larger than dropouts. 94% of homicide suspects under the age of 25 are dropouts; 82% of people in prison are dropouts; and non-graduates do 75% of the crimes committed in America.” I’ll ask Captain Falvey next time I see him – or feel free to contact Chief Suhr’s press person to ask for the original data source.

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