As car break-ins jump 28 percent in San Francisco, police shuffle response

With car break-ins spiking again in San Francisco to the tune of about 85 a day, police Thursday unveiled a shakeup that eliminates a citywide task force focused on the epidemic in favor of assigning dozens more cops to walk neighborhood beats.

The disbanding of the auto burglary task force, which the city created less than two years ago, comes even though the city’s civil grand jury recommended that San Francisco not only make the special unit permanent but beef it up with more officers and equipment.

While the 18-person unit had netted more than 200 arrests, the problem continued, and Police Chief Bill Scott said at a news conference that trying to stop criminals before they act is a more effective strategy than seeking to catch them later. He is shifting staffing from the agency’s central office to its 10 stations.

“We really want to get in front of the crime,” said Scott, who took command in January. “We know it’s only a piece of the puzzle, but we know it will make a difference.”

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