Security improve­ments curb car break-ins at city garages

San Francisco-owned public parking garages are seeing fewer car break-ins thanks to improvements being made inside the garages, city officials said on Tuesday.

The Sutter-Stockton Street garage, near Union Square, saw fewer car break-ins in recent months, with 44 in January, 12 in February, and 9 in March, Mayor Mark Farrell said at a press conference Tuesday.

City officials began seeing the drop in car break-ins at the garage after a police officer was assigned to the garage and a number of improvements were made in February, including installing fencing and making sure electrical outlets were no longer available to avoid people from loitering inside the garage.

City officials announced a decrease in car break-ins at the Sutter-Stockton Street parking garage in San Francisco, Calif., on April 24, 2018.

Farrell said the car break-in epidemic in The City affects visitors and people who work and live in San Francisco:

“The current conditions on our streets is unacceptable.”

The San Francisco Municipal is current undergoing a $32.5 million three-year project to make security and operational improvements to all of the 22 city-owned public parking garages.

Ed Reiskin, SFMTA director of transportation, said the upgrades are a mix of old and new technology:

“It’s fencing, it’s lighting, it’s signage.”

Additionally, the transit agency installed 56 high-definition cameras at six other parking garages to help deter criminals and help the Police Department capture those seen on video breaking into a vehicle.

The transit agency expects to complete all the garage upgrades by 2020.

The Pierce Street garage in Cow Hollow, one of the garages that received the new cameras, saw a 55 percent decline in car break-ins within six months of implementation, according to The Mayor’s Office.

District 2 Supervisor Catherine Stefani is thankful for the new improvements, as she said she has witnessed people staking out cars:

“Once they saw me, they exited in their Mercedes laughing at me while I was on the phone with police.”

Stefani along with Supervisor Kim called for a hearing on public safety at city-owned public parking garages and lots last month.