Park Smart: If You Love It, Don’t Leave It

Recently, San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) district stations have reported break-ins into locked cars throughout the city. Even worse, most of these break-ins typically involve more than $950 in stolen goods, the likes of which we can only imagine—laptops, smartphones, wallets, personal possessions and other items important in our everyday lives.

While car break-ins in San Francisco are not unusual occurrences—especially during the pandemic—these crimes do highlight a common misconception among

those parking in the city: That locking your car doors is all you need to do to keep your valuables safe from theft. In actuality, nothing could be further from the truth.

It’s not enough to just lock your car doors; parking smart in the city means locking your doors AND taking all of your valuables with you, every single time you leave your car. Otherwise, you may be the unfortunate next victim of a smash-and-grab.

“When thieves spot valuables in your car, they really don’t need much time to break into it,” said SF SAFE Executive Director Kyra Worthy. “That’s why we advise everyone to ‘park smart’ by keeping your vehicle’s interior and trunk clear by taking everything with you every time you park, whether it’s on the street or in your garage.”

Aside from the aforementioned, here are some of SF SAFE’s other “park smart” tips that should prove useful to community members when parking in the city:

Turn off the ignition. Never leave your car running unattended.

Keep your vehicle and tires in good condition. This helps prevent breakdowns which could strand you in a dark or unfamiliar place.

Lock your doors when you get in your car.

See something, say something. If you see a motorist in distress, call 9-1-1 versus stopping to help.

Clear your trunk and take your valuables with you every time you leave your car.

If you are being followed, drive to the nearest police or fire station; a populated area is a good default.

The next time you go to park your car in San Francisco, remember SF SAFE’s “park smart” mantra: “If you love it, don’t leave it.”

-Kathy Chouteau