Crime in San Francisco

Key elements to be mindful of when visiting “The Golden City” this summer.

Aftermath of our rental car being broken into.

Sasha Hulsey

Aftermath of our rental car being broken into.

Sasha Hulsey, Staff Writer

Throughout the last two years, San Francisco has been facing an unprecedented amount of car break-ins. In just October of 2022, the city faced 2,300 vehicle burglaries overall, with only 22 being resolved. Those who live in the city, along with those who don’t, are growing tired of it being plagued with this issue.

San Francisco is a beautiful city, filled to the brim with an abundance of unique sights, and a buzzing atmosphere. Despite this, they have a horrific larceny problem. By no means does this equate San Francisco to being a dangerous city, with overall crime being predominantly low. 

According to the San Francisco Police Department, violent crimes like human trafficing, rape, and assault have all been steadily decreasing since 2018. This is an incredibly notable achievement for the city, but it’s overshadowed by the rate at which break-ins are occuring.

A survey conducted by the San Francisco Chronicle showed that larceny, generally break-ins, have affected more than half of the people currently living in San Francisco. Last month, The San Francisco Standard posted an interview with local window repair shop owner Morena Mendez, attempting to get some insight on the current state of the situation.

“I get between 20 and 25 calls a day,” Mendez said. “I’d say 70% are for a break-in, or vandalism, where they don’t steal anything but just break [the window].”

Break-ins are a quick crime to commit, and the majority of those committing the crime are left untouched. Whenever thieves see luggage, or even tinted windows, they make sure they aren’t missing out on anything of value. More times than not, you’re left with a bigger bill for the window than what was taken. 

“Right now, [I have] no glass in stock for Kias,” Mendez said. “For a while, we were out of stock [for Audis].”

Mendez has recognized an overwhelming number of her customers have Audis, Hyundais, or Kias. There’s no apparent reason for targeting these brands, but Mendez is struggling with keeping up. Whether you’ve lived there your entire life, or you’re just visiting for the day, you always have to prepare for the possibility of it happening to you.

Recently, I had an experience with a break-in as well.

My mom and I had a rental car for the day, and left our bags in the car while running errands. 20 minutes later, both windows on the right side of the car were completely shattered, and everything was gone. 

When returning the vehicle, the employees were incredibly nonchalant about the situation. An employee explained that they sometimes receive cars in this condition multiple times a day, and that thieves tend to be drawn to rental cars. Rental cars are an easy target, because most of the time they belong to tourists – meaning they aren’t thinking about what they’ve left in their car. 

After being broken into, we had to drive to two other rental locations to find a vehicle for us to drive back home. PC: Samantha Hulsey

There isn’t a sure way to prevent a break-in from occurring, but there are plenty of resources you can use to help better understand where you plan to visit. There is a free break-in tracker, that allows you to view where recent break-ins have occurred. You can view hotspots within the last 24 hours, week, 30 days, and even select specific months throughout the last five years. You can also visit the San Francisco Police Department’s website, where they display varying crime rates for the current year. Keep these resources in mind when visiting, and stay safe!