News and Analysis

San Francisco Families Hire Private Security To Patrol Neighborhood Amid Property Crime Spike
Deputy public defender Chesa Boudin (middle) representing robbery suspect Kenneth Humphrey talks to press at the Hall of Justice on Tuesday, May 1, 2018, in San Francisco, Calif.
Liz Hafalia/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

More than 150 families have hired private security to patrol the streets of San Francisco, amidst a rash of home burglaries and car break-ins.

Patrol special officer Alan Byard was hired by the families to patrol the Marina district, an upscale neighborhood at the northern tip of the city, known for its history as the staging area of the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition. Patrol special officers are private security guards whose functions are overseen by the San Francisco Police Commission.  

“It’s a nice area down here, people are afraid of what’s been going on,” said Byard. “They want a safe place to raise their kids. In the last year, I’ve had 10 of my clients move out of the city.”

“We don’t feel safe in our neighborhood,” resident Katie Lyons, told CBS SF, via Fox News. “And we have an alarm, we have cameras on our property, but we want the extra security of having someone have eyes on our place.”

For a monthly fee of $65 per family, Byard spends his nights in his car, patrolling the neighborhood from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., on the lookout for suspicious activity. He told the outlet that he has more than doubled his residential client base since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, from 70 families to 150, just in the Marina District neighborhood. The most common problem in the neighborhood was car break-ins, he said, but petty theft and burglary were also common occurrences.

Lyons noted that she refuses to walk around the city at night, especially not carrying a purse. “Especially at night, I don’t walk with a purse, I’ll drive, or I’ll take an Uber, and it’s beginning to become a daytime problem too,” she said. She also noted that she often sees stolen property outside her home.

Allan Brown, a 20-year resident of the Marina District, had a depressing response when he was asked by the outlet whether crime had recently increased. “Oh absolutely, absolutely,” he said. “This place used to be – nothing would ever happen here.” 

Instances of car burglary have continued to occur. Fox News reports: “The city’s Central District, which includes tourist hot spots such as Fisherman’s Wharf and Chinatown, struggled with a staggering 753% increase in car break-ins from May 2020 to May 2021.” 

A video posted to Twitter on Oct. 20 and shared by Fox News shows an individual breaking into cars in the Fisherman’s Wharf neighborhood in the middle of the day, stealing items from inside cars before being chased off by the owner of one of the cars. In another instance, a couple visiting from Seattle had the rear window of their car smashed, just a few blocks away from where San Francisco Mayor London Breed was announcing a reward of up to $100,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of organized car burglars.

The city is also dealing with a rash of brazen shoplifting incidents. As previously reported by The Daily Wire, Walgreens has been forced to close 5 stores in the city because of shoplifting, with one location reportedly losing as much as $1000 worth of merchandise per day.

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