Saturday, October 21, 2017

The great San Francisco auto burglary debate

In San Francisco, where no automobile parked on the street is immune from glass-smashing thieves, some people have taken to posting signs on car windows announcing that there are no valuables inside.

The hope, of course, is that a thief will read the notice and decide: "Huh. No valuables in this one. I guess I'll break into some other car."

On Tuesday, a Reddit user posted a photo of such a sign and posed the question "Do you think it works?" to the Reddit community. A lively debate ensued.

"Sounds a lot like something that someone with valuables in their car would say," wrote a skeptical Maddox83a.

But iamthewaffler disagreed, citing personal experience.

"It's strong signaling that works VERY well," the commenter wrote. "The intended victim for thefts from cars are people who are from out of town, other "safer" parts of SF, etc who don't know that certain areas are very prone to car break-ins. If you have bothered to print out a sign and put it in your window, that shows you know exactly what neighborhood you're in and the chances of anything valuable being in your car are extremely low." ...

About 85 vehicles are reported to have been broken into every day in the city, according to SFPD data for this year. That includes only cars whose owners reported the crime. The actual figure is doubtlessly higher.

This year a total of 17,970 vehicle break-ins were reported from Jan. 1 to July 31, a 28 percent increase over the same period in 2016. ...

A few Reddit users suggested that car owners forget about the sign and simply leave the car doors unlocked. But that prompted stories of homeless people sleeping in vehicles overnight, doing drugs and/or having sex in them, and even using backseats as a toilet.
--Mike Moffitt, SFGate, on the country's most beautiful city