Neighborhood anti-burglary network created in response to surge in crime

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – In response to the recent increase in burglaries, San Francisco Supervisor Catherine Stefani has created what is called the “Neighborhood Burglary Network.”

It is a website and people group to connect residents of its district to community safety resources, neighbors and current crime data and trends.

This network was actually inspired by residents of the Richmond district, who came together to create a neighborhood watch group and give safety tips to their neighbors.

Their advice now prevents others from becoming victims.

“We are definitely seeing an increase in burglaries and an increase in very nervous people,” Stefani said.

Supervisor Stefani represents District Two which includes neighborhoods like Marina, Presidio, Russian Hill, and Pacific Heights.

His office has just created a resource for residents known as the Neighborhood Burglary Network, which connects people to community resources, crime data, safety tips and other neighbors.

“We want people to have a place to go where they can learn about community safety resources, how to protect themselves, connect them to neighbors, to help them understand crime trends,” Stefani said.

Stefani, along with several police captains, revealed some of those trends during a community webinar on Wednesday, saying most break-ins happen between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

“From approximately 3/21 to 3/28 in burglaries and residential structures in the Northern District, we had 24 for this reporting period. That’s up from 11 over the last reporting period the week before,” said captain Derek Jackson.

Residents like Mark Dietrich, who organized his own neighborhood group in Richmond, find that a majority of thieves gain access to homes through the garage.

Dietrich and his neighbors originally started their own community website known as Stop Burglary Richmond, where they shared top tips to keep burglars out.

“The most common device used by burglars is this dangling red cord. They simply pull this cord by cutting a hole or reaching through a gap, a broken window with a thread. Once they get the cord that the latch is attached to, they’re in and so there are devices you can buy. I have one here,” Dietrich said.

In addition to using emergency locking covers, Dietrich and his neighbors noticed that covering all windows or openings in the garage, getting a loud alarm system, and using deadbolts that automatically lock and unlock when you open the garage were the most effective in preventing burglaries.

Meanwhile, Supervisor Stefani says the city also needs to work on recruiting and hiring more police officers.

“If we look at other cities per 10,000 people, we know New York is at 44 officers per 10,000. Washington, DC is at 61 and we’re only at 22, so something we really have to focus,” Stefani said.

Stefani says San Francisco is significantly understaffed, more than 500 officers short, and because of that, she will hold a hearing on police staffing on April 14 at the city’s public safety committee meeting.

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