Your July 2015 Crime Report: Home Burglaries and Auto Smash-and-Grab Thefts Are Way Up

The video above shows the infuriating spectacle of an organized auto smash-and-grab ring smashing-and-grabbing from a car parked on Bocana yesterday.

We’ll get to the details of that in just a moment… but first, the valiant Neighbor Sarah attended the monthly Ingleside SFPD community meeting last week, and she shares these notes on the latest Bernal Heights crime trends:

Notes from Ingleside Community Meeting
July 21, 2015

– Lt. Struckman has been sent to Property to work on high-profile issue of clearing backlog of rape kits.
Ingleside is now down to two lieutenants. at station; Lt. Burke was moved from investigations to patrol/nights.
– Ingleside expects new lieutenants and sergeants this fall
– Police redistricting happened, but it did not affect Ingleside

Rob Rueca – he is the permits officer at Ingleside station
Archie Wong – new neighborhood DA at station;, 415-551-9813

Burglaries of autos and homes WAY up across city
SFPD thinks this has to do with Prop 47, which passed last year
+40% in burglaries in Ingleside YTD
+19% in auto burglaries YTD

Captain attributed this to a mix of organized criminals who know exactly how to work around the laws – including Ghost Town gang from Oakland – and opportunistic crimes by individuals with drug problems.
For example, gang members send one person out to break all the car windows on a block. Second person comes 30 minutes later and grabs stuff from inside. That way, it’s separates crimes – one vandalism, one theft. Also keeps property stolen by one person under the $900 felony threshold.

Ghost Town has been hitting SF, San Bruno, Palo Alto, Oakland, Santa Clara. Also, some auto burglars break the window to trigger car alarm, knowing most people just turn it off… which then lets them get in very easily

Home burglaries – Occur mostly between 10am and 2pm
Nosy neighbors and dogs are best deterrents. SFPD encourages setting up neighborhood watch, and always report suspicious activity to 553-0123 (crime in progress: 911). Explain why the activity is suspicious and give good details if you can do so without endangering yourself (plate #, etc).

Ingleside recently stopped a ring of street robberies, which have also been up.

Grocery Outlet in Visitacion Valley had a takeover robbery – police IDed people from video, but victims could not ID them, so not arrested

Always file a report – it helps the police connect crimes.

Trying to get horses and motorcycle officers in McLaren Park – crime picks up later in the day there

SFPD recently did a traffic sting focused on not yielding to pedestrians at Mission/Oliver – 38 citations in 1.5 hours. Doing more traffic stings along Mission corridor, so be advised.


This year’s National Night Out will be held in Bernal Heights at the Bernal Rec Center and Bernal Library!
Next week – Tues, Aug 4, 5-8pm

Free BBQ, jumpy houses, rock climbing wall, games, arts & crafts, giveaways. safety resources, and more
Meet your neighbors, have fun, and find out ways to promote community safety
Exhibiting organizations include the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center, Bernal Library, NERT, ALERT, Rec & Park, SFSAFE, Department of Emergency Management, SFPD, SFFD, & more
Sponsors include SF POA, SFFD, Recology, Cordova Market, Boys & Girls Clubs, and more

Next SFPD Ingleside meeting – 8/18, 7pm, at St. Aidan’s Church, 101 Goldmine in Diamond Heights right near DH Safeway. Lots of parking available.

PRESENTATION BY Auxiliary Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT)

Modeled on SF NERT, this group trains team to assist law enforcement in the event of disaster – directing traffic, answering phones, working with officers to check areas for looting, assist at reunification centers, etc.
Will respond based on need to any of 10 stations, so if 1989-style quake happened today, basically all volunteers would have been sent to Marina; ALERT is not neighborhood-focused like NERT. To participate:
Must do NERT certification first – 20 hours
ALERT training – additional 8 hours
Must complete background check before doing ALERT training
3 training classes in 2015
More information here

Okay, so now let’s get back to the sad car break-in video shown above.

As Neighbor Sarah mentioned, auto break-ins are way up all over San Francisco, and they appear to be increasingly organized. This video shows just what that looks like. Neighbor Scott tells Bernalwood:

When I went to my car this morning, July 27,  I noticed my neighbor’s car had been vandalized. Attached is a video of the perpetrator – from him casing the neighborhood, to selecting a car, to calling his accomplice, to looting my neighbor’s car.

My father-in-law’s car was broken into Saturday night so I’m hoping you can let everyone know – especially on Bocana Street – that we are the “street-de-jour” for the smash-and-grab crowd.

Also, I called SFPD, and since it wasn’t my car that was broken into, I can’t file a police report. I sent the video to the Ingleside police station anyway.

If we find out who’s car it was, I’d be happy to talk to the police with them. This happened to me two months ago – I feel their pain!

19 thoughts on “Your July 2015 Crime Report: Home Burglaries and Auto Smash-and-Grab Thefts Are Way Up

  1. PLEASE people DO NOT LEAVE ANYTHING IN YOUR CAR. Maybe if there is nothing to take they won’t break in. And remember if they get in your car they can get in your trunk so DON’T LEAVE ANYTHING IN YOUR TRUNK, either. Be safe out there.

    • Seriously, I can’t believe the items people leave in plain view. City living! Bernal has been a target for many years now. Sucks…

    • Also, always lock your glove box. If they can get in your car, they can get in your glove box. If they can get in your glove box, they can get your registration and lots of personal information that you don’t want in the hands of criminals.

  2. Was this video from around sunrise? I’m wondering what their hour of choice is for prowling.

  3. I have no problem at all with Prop 47 as long as we also repeal the 8th Amendment.

    • Yeah, great idea. Let’s get rid of the amendment that outlaws cruel & usual punishment? Because..we can totally trust the police, sheriff and that crazy neighbor to not abuse their new found freedom.

  4. I’d like to hear some evidence about Prop 47 before believing speculation about it. Also, not sure I follow that a crime couldn’t be prosecuted despite video evidence. Eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable. Video is less so.

    • Well, per above, the SFPD say it is Prop 47-related. They do work with the perps on a regular basis and would have some insight into crime patterns.

      Not unimpeachable evidence, sure, but pretty telling.

      I know the hearts of my progressive friends were in the right place but Prop 47’s ‘soft on crime, soft on the causes of crime’ approach was bound to lead to this.

      It’s great the state is saving some money on the prison budget. It’s sad the cost is being borne by law-abiding citizens having their possessions stolen.

      But these are ‘non-violent’ crimes so who cares, right?

      • It looks like stronger penalties were a deterrent. Didn’t need to line streets with private police patrols, didn’t need cameras on every house.. Just needed stronger penalties and people were less willing to commit the crimes.

      • Stronger penalties took up jail space for what are in essence petty crimes, and that’s why people voted for Prop 47.

        We need a better solution than locking people up. That just costs money and creates more hardened criminals.

      • There was an article in the LA Times about Prop 47s relationship to the recent rise in crime (LA property crime is up 10-20%). The verdict was basically “could be related, but too soon to say.” SFPD’s hunch may prove correct, but I don’t think less than a year’s worth of data and a handful of anecdotes is really enough to prove causation.

      • The police having a hunch about something is not the same as it being true. Not that it’s equivalent, but the police told us that Eric Garner’s death was justified. Greg Suhr has been saying that SFPD officers are about to get body cams for years now, and that there aren’t any delays. The police saying it doesn’t make it true.

  5. Beyond not leaving anything in your car, it is also not a good idea to interrupt a crime in progress. My friend, Jose, knowing about the smash-and-grab car theft / home burglary my husband and I experienced earlier this month in Bernal and also having his brother’s truck broken into a week later (for a lunch cooler) witnessed a daytime smash-and-grab in an Albany shopping center parking lot. The perpetrator broke the window of a car immediately after the car’s owner went into a Peet’s coffee and grabbed a laptop and iphone that was left on the front seat. Jose felt compelled to chase the guy in an attempt to stop the crime. Realizing he was being chased, the perp turned around, pulled out a gun and shot twice at Jose. Daytime. Shopping center parking lot. Many witnesses. Luckily Jose ducked and dodged both bullets. Criminals are often desperate, dangerous people who think nothing of ending someone else’s life for a bunch of replaceable sh*t.

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