Car break-ins probably more common than number reported by police, says auto glass repair expert

PETALUMA, Calif. (KGO) -- The number of car break-ins has steadily gone down in San Francisco, according to police. However, the owner Raymond Templeton Auto Glass Repair of San Rafael says those numbers are most likely much bigger, based off the experience he has with customers.

Templeton believes the actual number of break-ins is much higher due to a lack of car owners reporting the crimes to police. In his estimation, he believes the actual number is 4 or 5 times higher.

This is why he felt compelled to write into ABC7 news.

"I watched you on TV and you were telling us how break-in crimes in San Francisco are going down...and I don't believe that's the case," said Templeton.

So we went out to meet Templeton at an auto body yard in Petaluma where on a Friday afternoon he was replacing a window on a big rig.

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"These also get vandalized in San Francisco!," he exclaims as he climbs into the vehicle's massive hood.

After he finishes installing the new windshield, the rest of his day is jam packed with calls about car break-ins in San Francisco...and he's not alone.

"I was talking to the owner of a glass company in San Francisco and they're selling 300 door glasses a day!"

Data from San Francisco Police Department shows car break-ins are going down year after year with 68 break-ins a day in 2019-down from 82 in 2017. Yet to Templeton, it seems the number just keeps going up.

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"I think the numbers they have are at least tenfold from what is reported," says Templeton, seriously.

SFPD confirmed to ABC7 News Templeton's suspicions. That car owners probably are not reporting their break ins, but encouraged vehicle owners to do so.

Templeton says it takes too long to report it. "Most people have been broken into multiple times...it's become normal."

San Francisco Police Department also says often times the cost to replace a window is less than filing an insurance claim. But before you think the break-ins are good for the auto glass repair business? Think again.

"It's not a thing you make a big profit on...the door glasses are not very expensive to do and more an inconvenience," says Templeton.
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