Bay Area residents have resorted to extreme measures to prevent thieves from breaking into their cars.
Photos and videos that surfaced on social media over the weekend showed many San Francisco and Oakland residents leaving their vehicle's trunks open and doors unlocked to keep criminals from smashing the windows and rummaging through them for things to steal, KABC-TV reported.
Others have reportedly posted signs saying, “Please use the door” or “Please Do Not Break Glass!! Nothing Inside!!”
The thought evidently is this: If criminals see that there is nothing of value in the vehicle, then they'll move on. And if there are no windows or doors smashed, the vehicle owner could save money on a hefty repair bill.
KABC noted it has heard of people emptying their cars of valuables and leaving doors unlocked and windows rolled down. But the new practice of leaving trunks open is reportedly "raising eyebrows."
The strange development shows just how bad crime has gotten in the Bay Area over the last year.
According to the outlet, one witness, upon seeing trunks left wide open, wrote on social media, "Imagine having to clean out your car and leaving it open in public, just so people won't break your windows. Oakland we looking sad man."
SFPD said that car break-ins are up 32% so far this year. KPIX-TV reported last week that the city was hit with 3,000 car break-ins in October alone.
“It’s out of control," Alan Byard, a San Francisco Patrol Special Police Officer, told the outlet. "We have people that are doing this – are breaking into cars in Nob Hill, then they go down to Fisherman’s Wharf, then they come out here. Then they go to another part of the city and the police can’t chase the cars, it’s considered a misdemeanor."
“I come out here every night and I see new piles of glass,” Byard added.
But law enforcement is warning that while leaving trunks and doors open may seem like a good idea, it actually may put one's vehicle at greater risk.
"There's so much that can go wrong here," said former San Francisco Police Department Deputy Chief Garret Tom. "[Thieves] could steal your batteries, your tires. They could go into your glove compartment and find out where you live."
He called the practice an "invitation" for "disaster."
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