News Releases
The latest news and announcements from Mayor London N. Breed

Mayor Mark Farrell, Transportation Director Ed Reiskin and Police Chief Bill Scott Announce Decrease in Car Break-Ins as First Part of New Public Safety Initiative in City Garages

Auto break-ins drop 83 percent in SFMTA garage outfitted with new surveillance resources, additional staffing

Mayor Mark Farrell, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Director Ed Reiskin and San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott today announced that car break-ins have dropped 83 percent at the Sutter-Stockton garage in Union Square as part of a public safety improvement plan that will soon be expanded to all public garages.

“Enough is enough—we are taking ambitious and smart new measures to prevent car break-ins in the city,” said Mayor Farrell. “It should not be a gamble to park your car in San Francisco. Thanks to the existing public safety upgrades in a number of our garages, the criminals of this city are beginning to think twice before breaking the law, and we are going to aggressively expand these security efforts across of all our City-owned garages. A crime prevented is better than a crime solved.”

At the Sutter-Stockton garage, the City realized a staggering drop in car break-ins after assigning a dedicated police officer to the garage, installing fencing and locking down electrical outlets to prevent loitering in February. In January, there were 44 car break-in at the garage, and in March—following the implementation of the initiatives—those numbers dropped to nine, an 83 percent decrease. There have been zero car break-ins at the garage to-date in April.

The SFMTA also recently installed 56 high-definition cameras to deter break-ins and capture crime on camera for immediate SFPD follow-up at six other popular garages—Lombard, Polk/Bush, Vallejo, North Beach, Portsmouth Square and Pierce St. After installation, the Pierce St. garage saw the most significant decline in break-ins, with a 55 percent reduction in the six months following the upgrades. The other garages that received the camera upgrades saw a sustained low number of car break-ins, with several continuing their level of zero car break-ins each month.

Many of the recent improvements at the SFMTA’s public garages and lots stem from the agency’s efforts to make the facilities more convenient and secure using new technology. Hardware and software upgrades being implemented at 22 SFMTA-owned garages and lots include new entry and exit stations, improved payment kiosks, two-way intercom systems, high-definition cameras and a central monitoring station to monitor video and provide 24/7 assistance. Full completion for the 22 garage and lot upgrades is set for 2020, with six garages finished and two underway and 14 upcoming.

“The SFMTA’s work to make our garages and lots safer, more convenient and secure are paying off, but we know there is still more work to do,” said SFMTA Director Reiskin. “We will continue to use new technology, targeted campaigns and increased collaboration with the SFPD to take the air out of serial criminals and prevent auto burglaries.”

The San Francisco Police Department has also partnered with the SFMTA to step up enforcement and crime prevention at city-owned garages and lots. Targeted initiatives include the deployment of plain clothes teams and focused deployment of officers based on crime data. The department is also working with the SFMTA to identify areas for facility security improvements, which have ranged from updating lighting plans and installing new fencing to prevent illegal entry, to locking down electrical outlets to prevent loitering.

“Our officers are making good, solid arrests and we are seeing an encouraging decrease in auto burglaries over last year,” said Police Chief Scott. “This collaborative approach with our partner agencies is enabling SFPD to improve our responsiveness, educate the public on theft prevention and more effectively deter and investigate car break-ins.”

The announcement follows Mayor Farrell’s kickoff of the Park Smart campaign to prevent and respond to car break-ins. The campaign includes increased SFPD foot patrols, units dedicated to deal with property crimes, expanded investigative resources at district stations, more training for fingerprinting and a new public awareness campaign. During the first three months of 2018, car break-ins decreased 17 percent compared to the prior year as a result of ongoing efforts from the San Francisco Police Department and San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to address property crimes.