Sausalito Police have circulated a warning to visitors and residents that San Francisco’s epidemic of car break-ins has now spread to Sausalito,
In the three weeks since October 25, 2015, there have been 30 reports of vehicle related crimes, such as stolen vehicles, car burglaries, and thefts from vehicles. The crimes have taken place all over the city, rather than being concentrated in certain areas as has been the case in San Francisco. Most thefts are taking place at night and early mornings.
Both locked and unlocked vehicles have been burglarized, most often involving the theft of items that are left in plain sight from outside the vehicle and that are small enough to be taken quickly, such as purses, briefcases, laptops, ipads, phones etc.
The theft epidemic in San Francisco started when State laws were changed in 2014 to make the theft of less than $1,000 in goods without violence against a person a misdemeanor instead of a felony to help ease jail overcrowding. This change made it profitable for thieves even when they are caught occasionally, and bypassed the teeth of the “three strikes” laws. The typical case there is a family or business person flying into SFO, going to lunch or dinner in the City before checking in to their hotel, and returning to find their rental car windows broken and their briefcase and suitcases gone. SFPD says that the theft rings typically can empty a car in 45 seconds.
In Sausalito, where we have far lower crime rates, we have historically had far fewer such car break-ins, though they do happen regularly. Sausalito PD reminded residents and visitors that these are usually crimes of opportunity when a thief notices the valuable items in plain sight. They advise that the risk can be drastically reduced if we:
- Take all valuables out of our vehicles, or at least place them in the trunk and out of sight. On many SUV’s there is no trunk and items in the rear storage area are also at risk.
- Always lock car doors when leaving the vehicle, even for just a few minutes.
- Always roll up your vehicle’s windows, and if you leave a crack on hot days make it a narrow one.
The Sausalito Police Department asks that you please report any suspicious activity, people, or vehicles in your neighborhoods. They would much rather investigate a call that turns out to not represent a risk than have residents hesitate to call and miss the chance to catch the thieves who have started specializing in breaking the windows of vehicles in Sausalito.
If you are the victim of a theft you’ll also need the police report for your insurance company. When a moving company van damaged my car in our office parking lot the Sausalito officer who came over was very considerate and responsive.
You can call the Sausalito Police Department at 415-289-4170, or dial 911 to report emergencies and crimes in progress.