Rising crime alarms residents and tourists in San Francisco

ByJR Stone KGO logo
Monday, May 3, 2021
Crime on the rise in popular tourist spots in SF
Tourists are starting to come back to San Francisco and numbers show the thieves are as well.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Tourists are starting to come back to San Francisco and numbers show the thieves are as well.

Neighbors near San Francisco's Palace of Fine Arts say car thefts right now may be worse than they've ever been. Reported crimes are up in other tourist spots, too.

New surveillance video shows the latest in what has been a slew of car burglaries near San Francisco's Palace of Fine Arts. In that video, someone is seen getting out of a car and, within seconds, breaking into another. It doesn't end there though, someone then runs up to try to stop the person, who then pushes them off, gets back into the getaway vehicle and speeds away.

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"Every single day, more and more car break-ins," says Neil Kay, who lives in the area.

Neighbors say crime in this tourist area eased during the pandemic. From April 1 to May 2 of 2020, there were just two larceny theft cases, which is how SFPD classifies these car break-ins, within sight of the Palace of Fine Arts.

Fast forward to April 2021 and it's been a different story. According to Data SF, 111 cases like this one were reported during that same period of time.

"It's very concerning as a single female here in the area and walking out in broad daylight and seeing this event happen in front of your very eyes, it's a security issue and what not," says Leighann Snarski, who lives in the area.

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We checked Larceny theft cases in April at other tourist spots like Lombard Street and the section of San Francisco near the late Cliff House. Cases are on the rise in both locations but not nearly like it is at the Palace of Fine Arts. The 111 cases are actually more than double of what we saw during that same time in 2019. Word has gotten around, too.

"There's people who take everything out of the car, happened to my friends a couple of times," says Adrian Flores of Pinole.

"Just assume your car is going to get broken into, plan for the worst," says Susan Macondray, who was visiting the city from San Diego with her family.

In many of these videos, onlookers watch as thieves go to work. Neighbors we talked with say it's too much of a risk to get involved. They're hopeful that something can be done to stop this.

"When you look at videos of what's happening all over the city and people pulling out guns or pulling out other weapons, people just don't want to get involved," says Kay.

We did talk with an officer who tells us it's challenging addressing these crimes near the Palace of Fine Arts. You set up on one block and thieves then target the other block.