[sf-lug] OT: Car broken into on 7th and Howard, GPS and other items stolen -- is this common?

Ernest de Leon dryicezero at gmail.com
Mon Oct 22 09:29:40 PDT 2007

It really makes me mad that people do this kind of stuff.  Coming from
Texas, I am no stranger to petty crime/theft, but at least in TX there's a
90%+ chance that if the owner of the car sees you, you're probably gonna get
shot.  As of Sept. 1, it's perfectly legal too.  Short of turning the entire
city into a citizen militia, I think when they catch these guys stealing
like that they should take them in a boat and dump them in the bay
somewhere.  If they can survive the swim back to a shore then they have paid
their penance.


On 10/22/07, Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> wrote:
> Quoting Kristian Erik Hermansen (kristian.hermansen at gmail.com):
> > People warned me about parking my car in San Francisco, especially
> > with a GPS in sight.  I just put the GPS in my car yesterday, and this
> > was the first night I parked it.  It sucks to have come back to broken
> > glass and items gone tonight.
> Condolences.  I lived for many years at the CoffeeNet building (744
> Harrison near 3rd Street, a Linux-based Internet cafe I helped build),
> and kept my car parked always on-street, so I'm familiar with your
> problem.
> > Does anyone have suggestions?  Should I just sell my car?  The police
> > told me that this will happen again and there is no way to prevent it.
> >  He said "we can't be everywhere, so how could we stop it?"
> The guys who do this crime smash, enter, grab, and exit in just a few
> seconds, and count on being too unobtrusive and quickly in & gone to be
> very noticeable.   They're pretty much idiots; they don't know what's
> valuable and what's not.  They frequently even fail to notice the fact
> that a door's unlocked -- or worse:  I saw one inside my car just off
> Army Street from half a block away, he noticed me running towards the
> car, and he crawled out _through_ the broken glass window rather than
> open the door.  (I was dumb enough to give chase, run after the gyy for
> about a mile to the housing projects on the south slope of Potrero Hill,
> wrestle the bastard to the ground, and hold him until the cops arrived.
> That was stupid:  I could easily have gotten killed.)
> Areas right near nightclubs are very at risk, e.g., my old address in
> SOMA, because the thieves know that suburbanites drive in and leave
> valuables inside their cars when they come clubbing.  So, theives walk
> the sidewalks, peer into cars, and smash a sidewalk-facing window of any
> car with visible clutter that seems worth rummaging through.
> Here's what I did, to stop getting broken into:
> 1.  Park if possible under a street lamp and directly in front of a curb
> cut / driveway.  This gives maximum visibility from behind, at night.
> The bad guy is less likely to want to smash and enter if he/she is
> highly visible, and on SOMA's one-way streets, that's mostly visibility
> from behind, from patrol cars in traffic approaching the car.
> 2.  Park if possible on main streets rather than alleys.  Again, greater
> visibility from approaching traffic (clearer sight lines, more traffic).
> 3.  (The vital part:)  Have _zero visible clutter_ inside the car.  I got
> my window smashed one time by an idiot who rooted around among worthless
> junk in the back seat and rear of my old Honda hatchback:  I lost
> nothing of value, but had to deal with window replacement and broken
> glass anyway.
> 4.  Do NOT be seen stowing valuables, e.g., in a trunk, just before
> leaving the parked car.  The thief may very well be watching you as you
> lock up and leave.  Therefore, if you're approaching your parking spot
> and realise you have to stow some valuables out of sight in your trunk,
> stop _short_ of your destination, first, transfer the valuables to
> hidden storage, and only _then_ drive the remaining ~1 block to your
> parking location.  This might save your next GPS unit.  ;->
> I actually considered, during good weather, just leaving the windows
> rolled down, to convey "Hey, fool.  There's no need to smash my window;
> you can enter and see for yourself that there's nothing in here worth
> stealing."  However, on reflection, I realised I really didn't want to
> encounter used syringes, fecal matter, etc., if that could be avoided.
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