Of all the things San Francisco is known for, unfortunately car break-ins is one of the biggest. This is not good for any city, as hundreds of thousands of residents who have fled the city over the past several years simply failed to recognize the city’s charms, or perhaps they just weren’t cut out for the urban life.
According to John Hamasaki, the city’s former police commissioner and a failed candidate for San Francisco district attorney: residents and visitors who dislike having their property stolen and violated are simply unprepared for “basic city experiences.” This was in response to a tech executive who returned to their vehicle, at San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf, after dinner only to find a “smashed car window and 2 stolen backpacks. $10K in gear lost, passports gone, etc.”
This is not good for tourism, and it’s time that this problem across the USA is addressed.
The rapid increase in crime has left once-flourishing cities such as San Francisco rotting from the inside out. In big cities people are reduced to going back to the 80’s habit of putting a sign in the window stating there is nothing valuable in their car.
It is not normal to have to leave one’s car windows down in the hopes that thieves will at least avoid damaging your car as they sift through its contents. It is not normal to leave a vehicle unattended for four seconds, only to return and find most of your luggage stolen, or your catalytic converter cut off or the vehicle stolen and damaged. It is not normal to have your car broken into at all.
San Francisco, as an example, on average experiences 74 car break-ins per day, with vehicle theft jumping by 200% in 2021 alone. Police officers make arrests in less than 2% of break-in cases, in large part because San Francisco’s prosecutors refuse to charge the criminals when they’re brought in. There are developing countries with lower theft rates.
The national average has increased as well. Every 43.8 seconds, there’s a new vehicle theft in the United States, per the National Crime Bureau statistics.
According to The New York Times, the rise in motor vehicle thefts was the most widespread trend across the cities tracked nationwide. Auto theft increased 59% overall from 2019 to 2022 and 21% from 2021 to 2022.
"Your stolen vehicle is actually a gateway to other crimes such as assaults, robberies, burglaries, and homicides,” stated Lt. Lint of the San Antonio police department. “Oftentimes they need a stolen vehicle because they’re not going to use their own.”
In December, more than half of the city’s residents surveyed told the San Francisco Chronicle that they had been victims of theft or larceny, with illegal entry into automobiles accounting for a majority of the reports.
Theft of any kind is a travesty, an abnormal violation of property rights that should be punished swiftly. Today’s San Francisco and other cities that are not enforcing the laws, is a dismal example what happens when it’s not.
What can you do? The answer isn’t clear. In the meantime, stay safe out there.
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