Twin Peaks residents witness surge in car break-ins, urge San Francisco to reopen landmark

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Sunday, September 27, 2020
Twin Peaks residents blame closure of vista for uptick in crime
Officials have kept Twin Peaks Boulevard closed for six months in order to promote social distancing atop the landmark. Neighbors claim this gives thieves a chance to break into cars while visitors enjoy the panoramic views.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A group of San Francisco residents urged city officials on Saturday to reopen the road to Twin Peaks due to a surge in crime near their homes.

You would think having a panoramic view of the city could take any worry away, but once may residents step outside, reality hits hard.

Twin peaks resident, Gary Russ says the closure of the lookout is to blame. Shattered glass can be seen all down the hill.

"Car break-ins have been like a plague right now," said Russ.

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ABC7 News is looking at ways to Build a Better Bay Area and keep you safe from the car break-in problem that has become an epidemic in the Bay Area.

Since March 28, officials have kept Twin Peaks Boulevard closed for six months with hopes to promote social distancing and reduce crowds. Fast forward six months later, over 200 residents signed a petition asking the city to reopen the gates.

"We've never had this much theft and break-ins and we never had partying going on over there. That's new," said Russ.

Neighbors believe that since thieves can't drive up to the parking area of the viewpoint anymore, they're chasing unsuspecting, out-of-town visitors parked along the hillside of Burnett Avenue and jumping right in as tourists walk half a mile up to the summit.

"When they get that gate open everything that is happening in our neighborhood will go back to where it came from. But it doesn't necessarily get solved? They can solve it back there. They shouldn't solve it in our neighborhood," said Russ.

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But some neighbors don't want the gates to reopen.

"While we are in the pandemic to have a place that I can walk to is really appreciated. I'm really glad it's closed right now," said Twin Peaks resident, Dawn G.

Supervisor Rafael Mandelman represents this district. For now he says they are trying to please both sides by reopening the Portola side from 6 p.m. to midnight with increased police presence.

"The police are going by more frequently," said Mandelman. "The police captain at the park station is very aware of this. Public Works has been going up and cleaning up after these nights where people are leaving trash."

As to the city making the right decision. Norman Yee, the president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors gave us a candid response, "That assumption didn't work out for them because people parked further down the hill and just basically walked up the hill or party further down the hill. In hindsight it probably wasn't the best thing to do," said Yee.

Their plan now is to reassess the closure of the gates in the next two weeks but in the meantime, "One of the things that police need to do to respond to that is start ticketing and even maybe tow some of those cars away," said Yee.

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