By Elina Lingappa
SAN FRANCISCO – Statistics can be scary, and the San Francisco Chronicle published a piece Wednesday titled “Police data: Burglaries in S.F.’s Richmond District up 370 percent from 2020,” detailing the rise in home burglaries in the San Francisco Richmond District so far this year.
The while the numbers and trends outlined in the article are true – home burglaries have increased enormously this calendar year – there’s more to the story.
As the San Francisco Police Dept. and SF District Attorney Chesa Boudin note.
First, preventative measures are important to underscore.
Within the same police report referenced in the San Francisco Chronicle’s article, the San Francisco Police Dept. presented out a number of potential actions residents can take in the face of this uptick in burglaries.
Namely, preventative measures in and around garage doors where many of these burglaries occurred.
SFPD identified behavioral and technical actions to mitigate the possibility of garage burglaries.
SFPD also recommended residents ensure their garage doors are closed and never leave their garage door remotes inside their cars, noting, “Basically another key into your home… opt to use a remote on a keychain” instead.
In addition, SFPD advises to secure all valuables, preferably in a “cabinet system with locks,” and be sure to tie emergency release cords into a ball, as it “will make it more difficult [for intruders] to reach.”
If residents have disposable income, SFPD also recommends residents to install vinyl adhesive reinforcement for the glass on garage doors, as well as an interior manual garage door lock instead of the automatic door motors when “leaving on vacation for extended periods of time.”
Additionally residents should have “at least one exterior mounted (and D.A. registered) camera facing the street,” motion-sensitive lights, and an interior mail slot hood cover.
Last week at a virtual Bernal Heights community safety meeting, Police Captain Woon reminded the meeting participants that safety measures are of the utmost importance. However, beyond this Woon also emphasized, “keep up to date on what’s happening in your neighborhood. Half the battle is getting informed on what’s going on.”
SFDA also posed that, “the more we can all take simple, common sense steps like the ones that Capt. Woon outlined to help deter, detect, and prevent, the more effective we’ll all be at keeping our communities safe. So let’s do it together.”
Crime prevention, including burglary, is far from impossible as SFDA Boudin emphasized that “we are never going to be able to lock our way out of some of the public safety problems we have, we also need to prevent” in the Bernal Heights meeting.
Keeping in mind the increased economic devastation caused to many individuals in the Bay Area during the pandemic, desperate actions such as burglaries are bound to occur, he said.
“We know that a record number of Americans are out of work, have had their lives and families disrupted, people are living in isolation. They’re having mental health breakdowns, and we’re seeing record numbers of fatal drug overdoses…the devastation of the pandemic is hard to overstate, especially for people who were already struggling to begin with,” Boudin reasoned.
And, according to Boudin, “overall crime is down by historic margins” this and last year, “absolutely, economic desperation is part of it.”
Elina Lingappa is a sophomore at the University of San Francisco double majoring in Sociology and Politics. She is originally from Seattle, Washington, and she is deeply passionate about the spheres of criminal justice and education equity.
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