Smash and grab thefts have become so commonplace in California’s Bay Area that some car owners are now leaving the trunks open of their parked vehicles to dissuade thieves from breaking in.
Last week, images went viral online of two SUVs parked next to each other in the Bay Area with their trunks open. Local authorities have dissuaded other motorists from following suit.
Speaking with Inside Edition, the owner of an SUV that leaves the trunk open said that she does it to show that there is nothing inside for thieves to take. However, San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) deputy chief Garret Tom said that “there’s so much that can go wrong” with doing this, noting that thieves can easily access the front of the vehicle if the trunk is left open and access identifying documents about the owner in the glove compartment.
Thefts from vehicles have jumped 32 per cent in 2021 and between September and October of this year, spiked by 25 per cent. Department data also reveals that there has been a 27 per cent increase in vehicle break-ins and vehicle burglaries this year.
SFPD public information officer Adam Lobsinger added that locals whose vehicles are the targets of thefts should file police reports to help authorities identify perpetrators and increase patrols in affected areas.
“With this data, we can identify crime hotspots, which allows us to be more strategic with our staffing and patrols as well as conduct more effective operations, respond more rapidly to crimes in progress and serve as a visual deterrent to would-be criminals,” Lobsinger told Newsweek. “The community is likely to see increased patrols, foot beats and officers on fixed post in identified crime hot spots.”