The reopening of San Francisco, California, means restaurants and hotels are back in business, but criminals have also stepped up their activities, burglarizing cars at a 753 percent higher rate in June over last month.
The fallout of the crime wave is reaching beyond the city as criminals find quieter streets to sort through stolen luggage for valuables, leaving behind stolen belongings.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported on the development:
Last month, the Police Department’s Central Station saw a 753 percent increase in auto burglaries compared to the previous May. But that was the height of lockdown restrictions. They are up only 75 percent compared to 2019.
The number of break-ins also increased 94 percent between April and May of this year, tracking with the city’s gradual reopening from the pandemic.
The most recent data for the Central District, through June 6, shows that 2,048 cars were looted so far this year, compared with 858 through the same period of 2020 — an increase of nearly 139 percent. Park District, home to part of Golden Gate Park, saw about a 3% increase. Every other district is still below its 2020 year-to-date total.
Police have responded by increasing the number of officers, including foot patrols, around the city.
“We have the city reopening, we know people are coming back and we want them to have a good experience,” Officer Adam Lobsinger, a police spokesman, said in the Chronicle report.
The Chronicle interviewed Kinga Sojka, who lives in Florida and came to visit California’s wine county.
Sojka parked her rental car in a garage near Pier 39 and set out on foot to explore Lombard Street, Fisherman’s Wharf, and the waterfront. When she returned she found the rear window smashed and her suitcase and a friend’s backpack, which was carrying the keys to her home, missing.
“It was pretty shocking because I don’t think of high crime in San Francisco, especially in a touristy area,” Sojka said. “It’s also so shocking how they basically dump it out on street in front of million-dollar homes and just leave it there if there’s nothing worth keeping.”
“Police and the Hotel Council advise tourists to leave nothing of value in their cars, even out of sight or for a short period of time, instead storing their luggage at hotels, even before or after their stays,” the Chronicle reported.
Follow Penny Starr on Twitter or send news tips to email@example.com