San Francisco Car Break-Ins Analyzed

As strategic city drivers often ask themselves, “How much safer will my car be here, compared to a block (or a BART ride) away?”

If we just look at the raw number of car break-ins, your car is worst-off in SOMA/South Beach/Mission Bay. 17% of the car break-ins in 2016 were there. But according to our analysis, the area of SF with the highest ratio of break-ins to available parking spots is Downtown/Civic Center/Tenderloin.

At SpotAngels we map and count all the street parking spots in the cities we cover, including in San Francisco. We know that compared to other regions SOMA/South Beach/Mission Bay also has a lot of parking spots: 1.85 times the city average. This means it might have so many break-ins just because there’s so much more parking there.

But if we calculate the annual rate of break-ins per parking spot in each of these neighborhoods, we can correct for neighborhood size. When we do, we find that Downtown/Civic Center/Tenderloin tops the list, with .35 break-ins per parking spot.

If you drive, live, or work in any of the neighborhoods at the top of this list: watch out. For every 100 parking spots in Downtown/Civic Center/Tenderloin, North Beach/Telegraph Hill, Golden Gate Park, or SOMA/South Beach/Mission Bay, there were over 25 break-ins. And while some of the usual suspects (like Downtown/Civic Center/Tenderloin) rank high on this list, so do a lot of areas with high income residents, and high rent.

Rent data source: Zumper

The big take away here is that, even in a posh zip code, you shouldn’t leave valuables visible in your car. It actually seems like higher rent correlates to a higher ratio of break-ins to parking spots, probably because both the break-in ratio and rent prices are influenced by how accessible a neighborhood is, and how central it is to the city.

Wherever you live, you’ll want to avoid parking on the highest-risk blocks in your neighborhood, especially through the highest-risk time periods.

Worst Blocks in San Francisco for Car Break-Ins

500 John F. Kennedy Drive is the worst block for car break-ins in San Francisco. 33% of the break-ins in Golden Gate Park in 2016 occurred on this block. In addition to the 10 worst blocks in San Francisco, we’ve also listed the worst blocks in the remaining high break-in ratio neighborhoods: North Beach/Telegraph Hill, Russian Hill, Chinatown, the Financial District and Nob Hill.

Not Just Your Imagination: Break-ins Were Up in 2017

The thing that makes parking in San Francisco trickiest is that it’s never the same day to day, or year to year. And last year was a big year for car break-ins in San Francisco. 

There were 28,701 break-ins Jan-October of 2017, compared to 24,021 over the same period of 2016. That’s a difference of over 19%. The increase in break-ins has been written about. In August, SFPD dissolved the unit investigating the increase in favor of dispatching more, hopefully deterrent, foot patrols.

SpotAngels is an app that helps you find safe places to park and avoid tickets. We blog about our parking-related research, including about tickets and break-ins. Try the free SpotAngels app available on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.

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