Car Break-In Epidemic Puts Citizens of Shotwell on High Alert



The streets around Precita Park are famous for glamorous style and a burgeoning array of amenities, but the SFPD’s Ingleside Station also identifies the area as a hotbed for smash-and-grab car break-ins. Neighbor Claudine reports that residents in the high-altitude reaches of Shotwell Street are fed up:

The rash of car break-ins continues on the North slope with Shotwell at Montezuma and Elsie as the latest targets . The hand-written signs posted up and down our street reflect the citizen concern that we are all getting broken in to nightly. There were two of us replacing our car windows on a recent morning at A1 Glass on Oakdale, where we had the pleasure of meeting one another as we bemoaned this epidemic, and shared notes about reporting the incidents to 311. More reports will hopefully equal more patrolling of our neighborhood!!!

The obvious thing that’s still worth saying is this: Do not leave anything visible in your parked car. Not just anything valuable; don’t leave anything visible whatsoever. Remove your garage door opener from your car. Notice also that the Mirabellians have their own mailing list to share information and foster vigilance. Subscribe and stay connected.

PHOTOS: Neighbor Claudine

30 thoughts on “Car Break-In Epidemic Puts Citizens of Shotwell on High Alert

    • Hi Isaac my name is abby sterling i work on special projects here at cbs5. would like to talkk to you about these breakins can you call me? 415-765-8972 work, 415-760-5667 cell

  1. Yesterday, Sunday April 7, around 7pm, I saw glass window remnants on the sidewalk on Bonview near Coso. One car had the passenger side window smashed. The console was open. The stereo was intact.

  2. Seeing signs of car break-ins all around the hill. We’re getting hit around Rutledge and Franconia, too.

  3. Early this morning on Prentiss Street there was a garage break-in using a now-familiar and scary tactic. The thieves broke my neighbor’s car window, found the garage door opener, and used it to march right into the garage and steal stuff. So, again, watch out for this.

  4. Our Gold Honda was stolen on Easter from Montezuma Street and few doors away from our house. When my husband called to report it stolen on Monday, April 1st. they told him that it was towed from Quint St. They informed him that it was going up for auction. Can you believe that and no one told us. He hurried home to get the second set of keys, drove to 7th street to pay for the tow. No damage to the car. My husband then went to Ingleside Station to try to file a police report again and was told that since we had the car back that we couldn’t file a report. The dispatch person from 311 never told us to file a police report before we picked up our car. A lack of communications with the police department.
    So this is important information if you are lucky that your car is found make sure to file the report first before you go and pick up your car.

  5. There’s been a rash of car break-ins on Bonview near Stoneman/Coso. Two rows of cars have been broken into within a week. The latest – about 4 cars were broken into Sunday night / Monday morning (4/7-4/8). Not sure if much was stolen from any of the cars (radios and sunglasses look like they were tossed around the car, but still remain in the vehicles).. and lots of broken glass…

  6. There were several cars with windows smashed, including ours, on Brewster Street on Friday morning. Probably 4 or 5. Nothing was out in our car, and nothing was taken. On the plus side, our neighbors were very kind (offering recommendations on places to get the window fixed and help vacuuming up the mess), and the window was fixed in less than an hour.

  7. Why is it a thing to have cars with garage door openers parked on the street? Wouldn’t they be parking in garages? I mean, I can think of a few circumstances you might do that, but it’s really so common that thieves are targeting it? Weird.

    • Why would anyone park their car(s) in their garage?

      (sarcasm, but this does seem to be the mentality of a lot of people)

      • I wasn’t trying to imply at all that people with garages should be parking there. I’m totally on board with having more space for humans and less space for cars! (Really, having difficult parking is a great way to reduce car ownership and use, so I’m all for it!) It just seems like if you’re not using the garage for that car, why have the opener in there? But maybe tandem parking is more prevalent than I realized in this neighborhood and people often decide not to block the other car. Really though, think about it: how many cars parked on the street have garage door openers? 1 in 3? 1 in 5? This seems like a really high percentage, but much lower and it’s hard to imagine it would be worth the risk to randomly break windows looking for them…

  8. i agree they should be using their private parking space so street parking is available to others but some folks use the garage as storage – and some have to park tandem – one in the garage and one in the driveway. it’s a sad fact but to avoid being ticketed for parking in my own driveway i sometimes park on the street. others don’t want to be bothered moving the car in the driveway so they park on the street. not to mention that there are households with 3+ cars and one car garages.

    • One more sad fact is that some people on my street sleep in their garage and have no room for the car. Fine with me but dont block my driveway because i keep my car in the garage ! Maybe i should start to sleep in my car in my garage LOL This way if someone breaks ii can catch them

    • “…it’s a sad fact but to avoid being ticketed for parking in my own driveway…”

      I think “my own driveway” is what’s known as a “sidewalk.” Used by humans who get around on foot.

    • You should get ticketed for parking in your driveway and forcing pedestrians to walk in the street around your car. It’s inconvenient and sometimes unsafe for those of us on foot to do so. It’s not your personal parking space but a public right of way.

  9. Read this this morning and had my car broken into and laptop stolen in the Lowes parking garage tonight…

    • I overheard security at Lowe’s complaining one day about the high number of break ins in the garage there.

      • Hmmm. The response I got from Lowe’s security when they rolled up to my shattered car window in their golf cart, “Dang, how come this only happens when I go on break upstairs?”

  10. The Lowe’s on Bayshore is awful. There are always guys hanging out, checking the cars, etc. The guards seem to know many of these people, too.

  11. My car window was cracked outside our shop on Shotwell. I was inside only for three or four minutes and had left my laptop in the front seat. The laminated window did not break. They hit it nine times but it would not shatter. The neighbor mechanic saw them. It was 11 am. Silver Lexus SUV. Black driver and white guy doing the cracking. He said they turned up the radio to avoid the sound of glass hitting the ground.

    He said he didn’t figure out what they were doing until later.

    We all need to put up go pro cameras for a week until we catch the plate number on the car and put these punks away.

    • I got a Dropcam (disclosure: a friend works there), and I loooooooove it. Sorry to hear about your car!

  12. On 4/19 at 5am I woke up to a weird scratching sound outside my window on the corner of Florida and Precita. I saw two guys trying to break into a brand new Kia mini van. I immediatelly called police and gave a full description. They were obviously planning to steal the car. Unfortunately the police did not arrive in time and they left down Precita towards the freeway.

    On 4/25 my car window got smashed along with a few others on Alabama and Precita. This is the third break in this year and one of those times my car was stolen and recovered.

  13. There are a lot of high price real estate transactions in Bernal over the last couple of years.. The result is a huge increase in property tax collection by the city.. Where are the increased patrols? The thieves realize the worst kept secret in Bernal, they can have their will on cars up on the hill and never have to worry about being caught red handed.

  14. Living in Bernal now for over 2 years and my car got broken into from 5:30pm to 11:30pm Saturday. I’m on Banks Street and Powhattan Ave. I called the non-emergency police number and they told me if the car has been tampered with, the ignition or steering wheel, they had advised to call back the non-emergency number and a police officer will come out. If the car was just broken into and the thief’s had stole stuff, call 311 and report a break-in report.
    I’m hoping that the community can come together and and crack the thieves down. It saddens me to see to this neighborhood go through so much crime.

  15. Our car got broken into two nights ago on peralta near Mullen. Passenger window smashed, contents tossed (papers, etc) nothing taken. No garage door opener in there though I assume that’s what they were looking for. Where exactly are these patrols taking place? I haven’t seen a single cop.

  16. This morning, I saw the aftermath of two new passenger-window smashings overnight on Powhattan between Folsom & Prentiss (one car, a silver jeep, was still there, and the other was just glass shards on the sidewalk).

  17. At this point, not leaving anything in your car doesn’t even work. We luve on Dolores at 16th and see piles of glass every single day along Dolores, 16t, 17th 18th, Church… We have had our car broken into 5 times in 6 months. Each time there was nothing to take. We even opened all the compartments once to show that they were empty and they broke in and took the car manual… Now we park far far away.

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