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San Francisco area residents are taking drastic measures to prevent the windows of their cars from being broken by thieves as break-in crimes spike. 

“I’m shocked,” former SFPD Deputy Chief Garret Tom, according to ABC 7. “There’s so much that can go wrong here.”

Some residents are reportedly leaving their windows rolled down, trunks open and cars unlocked in order to avoid thieves breaking their car windows and stealing their belongings. 

“It doesn’t really surprise me,” Oakland’s Interim Deputy Police Chief Drennon Lindsey told the outlet of the actions taken by some residents.

Stock photograph of Hyde street and San Francisco Bay in San Francisco California USA on a sunny day.

“Imagine having to clean out your car and leaving it open in public, just so people won’t break your windows. Oakland we looking sad man,” one witness in Oakland, which is about 12 miles from San Francisco, said. 

San Francisco and Oakland are both reporting a spike in car break-ins this year compared to last. Police in San Francisco have reported a 32 percent increase in car break-ins, while Oakland police have reported a 27 percent increase in both car break-ins and auto burglaries, ABC 7 reported. 

Logo of the San Francisco Police Department over a photo of the city. 
(San Francisco Police)

Police have also increased patrols in high-trafficked areas this holiday season and warned people not to leave their trunks and windows open.

“Don’t leave valuables in the car, don’t even tuck things under your seat,” Lindsey added in advice to residents. Lindsey also said that thieves have become more skilled in how they steal, pointing to devices that alert them to whether belongings such as a laptop are hidden in a trunk of a car. 

“They could steal your batteries, your tires,” former SFPD Deputy Chief Garret Tom warned of how thieves could take advantage of the new measures taken by residents. “They could go into your glove compartment and find out where you live.”

“We’re in different times… that’s unbelievable,” he added. 

Democratic Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf is calling on residents to install security cameras to help track criminal activity. 

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf speaks at a news conference in Oakland, Calif., on July 26, 2021. Oakland officials will reverse plans to cut police funding and seek to hire more officers as soon as possible, Schaaf said Monday, as a spate of gun violence and fatal shootings has left residents on edge.

“Pointing the cameras towards the street and register it with the Oakland Police Department,” she said.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed also said on Tuesday that the city will become “more aggressive with law enforcement” amid the crime spikes. 

“It’s time that the reign of criminals who are destroying our city, it is time for it to come to an end,” Breed said. “And it comes to an end when we take the steps to be more aggressive with law enforcement … and less tolerant of all the bullsh*t that has destroyed our city.”

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 17: San Francisco Mayor London Breed speaks during a news conference outside of Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital with essential workers to mark the one year anniversary of the COVID-19 lockdown on March 17, 2021 in San Francisco, California. San Francisco has some of the lowest number of coronavirus cases and death rates in the country with only 422 deaths in a city with a population near 900,000. 
(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The San Francisco area is also struggling with rampant smash-and-grab robberies this holiday season, which have affected dozens of retailers, including Nordstrom, Apple and drug stores. 

In one case, about 80 people stormed a Nordstrom in Walnut Creek, stealing at least $100,000 in merchandise. 

“We probably saw 50 to 80 people in ski masks crowbars a bunch of weapons. They were looting the Nordstrom’s right here. And I thought they were going to start beating cars. I had to start locking doors lock the front door lock the back door,” witness Brett Barrette told KGO following the November robbery.

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