SF DA Chesa Boudin weighs in on 300% increase in car burglaries in one neighborhood

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- New data from the San Francisco Police Department indicates that auto burglaries went down 2 percent Citywide from 2018 to 2019.

But car burglaries actually increased 305 percent in the Diamond Heights Shopping Center, and the 1,000 feet around it, in the same time period.

In 2018 there were 19 smash and grabs in the area, and in 2019 that number increased to 77.

RELATED: San Francisco begins aggressive plan to address car break-ins

"It was like maybe 3 seconds, boom, and out," said Rod Suzuki, who was inside his SUV with his family over the holidays in the Diamond Heights Safeway parking lot, when two auto burglars smashed his rear window and grabbed his stuff. "I saw them, they saw me get in the car!"

"It shows kind of the brazenness of some of these crimes," said District 8 Supervisor, Rafael Mandelman.

Mandelman got wind of Suzuki's story on Nextdoor, which was the impetus for Monday night's standing-room-only safety discussion at SFPD's police academy.

Chesa Boudin showed up for his first community meeting, as San Francisco's new District Attorney.

"We know there is a very fluid, liquid market in the Bay Area for stolen goods. We have reason to believe there is more than a billion dollars worth of stolen goods moving through that market every year," said District Attorney Boudin.

RELATED: Break-In Vigilantes: Residents in San Francisco helping protect their neighborhood from car break-ins

Despite the controversial perception by many San Franciscans that he's going to be soft on criminals, Boudin says he can and will prosecute auto burglaries as felonies.

"Moving upstream and taking apart the networks across the Bay Area that create demand for stolen products. It means using sophisticated GPS tracking devices, it means using data to map out why it is that certain neighborhoods like this one have had auto burglaries skyrocket," said Boudin.

The owner of the shopping center says they're upgrading their cameras, adding new lighting, and security guards on Segways.

SFPD is stepping up patrols and taking responsibility.

"It's not only the loss of the property, it's you're a victim. And there's nothing worse than feeling the feeling of being a victim. And we apologize for that, that's our failure and we are working hard to address it," said Lt. Kevin Knoble.

Meanwhile, Suzuki says police have not caught any suspects from his smash and grab and there is no video of the incident.

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