Crime Alert: Spike in Muggings and Burglaries Prompts Personal Safety Reminder

Apparently, it’s crime season.

In recent days, Bernalwood has received an unusually large number of emails from Bernal neighbors sharing reports about incidents of gunfire, burglary, and robbery. Here’s the most recent one, received yesterday:

One of my neighbors left the house this morning around 6AM and was mugged out front by an assailant that had just broken into another neighbors vehicle. This happened on Aztec Street (between Shotwell and Coso). He got away with her belongings and ran toward the Shotwell/Aztec stairway.

Though our data at this point remains anecdotal, there is reason to believe the recent incidents may be seasonal. The SFPD warned residents in November that property crimes tend to increase when the days grow shorter, and remember that we experienced a crime wave this time last year.

Neighbor Sarah, Bernal’s official unofficial liaison to the SFPD’s Ingleside Station,  shares these critical personal safety tips:

There have been several muggings in Bernal Heights over the past week, especially in the south/west part of the neighborhood (near Holly Park, St. Mary’s, and elsewhere), at times ranging from 6am to 11:30pm. In several cases, the victims were approached by a group of four young men who had a gun. In other cases, there was one perpetrator. There has been a rash of burglaries in the same general area.

Captain Falvey of Ingleside Station will be emailing us an update on the crimes and whatever he can share on the investigations soon, but, in the meantime, here are some reminders:

  • Be alert when out walking, and be alert as a neighbor/witness as well. Be in the moment, not on your phone. If you notice suspicious behavior, even if you yourself are not threatened, call the police.
  • Leave your porch lights ON – this can make a big difference in improving lighting for pedestrians and in giving the impression that people are at home and paying attention.
  • If it’s a crime in progress (of any sort – this includes auto break-ins and burglaries, as well as violent crimes) or suspicious behavior that has escalated, call 911. Program 553-8090 into your cell phone – this is cell-phone 911. Although the problem with cell phone 911 calls being routed to CHP was supposedly fixed, this exact thing – being routed to Vallejo first – happened to me a month ago when I called 911 and was near a freeway.
  • The non-emergency police dispatch number is 553-0123. Call this number if you see something going on that is suspicious but does not rise to the level described above.
  • If you ARE mugged, remember: surrender your valuables, not yourself. Hand over your belongings, but do anything you can to avoid going with someone to another location.
  • If you are mugged or witness a mugging, try to notice details that will help the police. Muggers often wear multiple layers of clothing that can easily be shed, so look for things that cannot be removed or changed so easily: shoes, glasses, facial hair, tattoos, height, jewelry. Only do this if you can do so without endangering yourself.
  • The weather is warm, and people often leave windows open. Do NOT do this, even if it’s a 2nd- or 3rd-floor window.
  • SFSAFE will do free residential security assessments for your house. Call 673-SAFE to make an appointment.
  • One random request: if you have a security camera, know how to check the footage and to make a clip for the police. This footage can be important as evidence, and often people don’t know how to do these things.

Read more tips on personal safety and residential security here.

Stay calm. Be smart. Stay tuned.

Special thanks to Neighbor Sarah for the invaluable information she provides.

PHOTO: Telstar Logistics

10 thoughts on “Crime Alert: Spike in Muggings and Burglaries Prompts Personal Safety Reminder

  1. I am becoming increasingly concerned about my impending stay in Bernal. Far from exploring the entire neighbourhood, for example, it would appear that we should keep within a certain area, especially during the evening. We had planned too to hire a car for the duration. Of course, we will follow every piece of advice about how to stay safe, but I would welcome some reassurance from locals that I should not be too anxious.

    • I agree with Todd. Bernal is generally very safe. There are these periodic spikes in crime, especially robberies, but this is a city-wide problem. Overall, crime is much lower in SF than it was even five years ago, and it’s way lower than it was 25 years ago. Enjoy your stay in our amazing neighborhood!

  2. The other thing to consider is all the publicity Bernal Heights has been receiving about being the hottest property in the country. It may have been the season in weeks before but burglars and muggers now see dollar signs written all over our neighborhood.

  3. Smart is key. Stay safe out there. Just last week: (on 1/10 via

    11:19pm Holly Park Circle Robbery
    Four young men robbed a man walking home after having dinner at a restaurant. The victim told Ingleside Officer Ferronato that the four suspects confronted him while he walking on Holly Park Circle. One of the suspects said, “Stop, or we’ll shoot you”. The victim responded, “What do you want, my money?” The suspects said; “yes, and your cell phone”. The victim placed $100 in currency and his IPhone on the sidewalk where the suspects grabbed the currency and phone before running away. Report number: 140029429

    • Just this past Tuesday night (1/14) at around 7ish pm, four men robbed a neighbor at gunpoint in the St Mary’s Park area, near College Ave and Justin…..I’m going to guess it’s the same four men….

  4. I walk around after dinner a lot and there is no one out. I mean its like I live in the woods. Maybe a jogger passes me once in a while but you would think I don’t even live in the city.
    I’m a newbie, a transplant. Has BH always been this way? This was true in summer as well so it doesn’t have anything to do with the long or short days.
    There is safety in numbers and the numbers aren’t very safe at the moment.

    PS There is a guy who reviews surveillance cameras. He does a really good job and you can get a good one for $200 or less. Storing your footage is a little more complicated but I can type more if anyone is interested. Anyways, the blog is here.

  5. Can you do a write up on the recent police activity / search around Precita? No other news source or blog has anything about it (except Bernal residents on twitter)

  6. Newbie, Bernal is surrounded by Mission gangs to the north (see gang injuction area), projects/Excelsior to the south, BayView/Hunters Point the East, and Outer/Ghetto mission to the West. It should not be surprising that thugs in the surrounding area prey on citizens the the hottest neighborhood in the world (per Redfin). Stay alert out there. It is still the city.

Comments are closed.