Crime soars in California

Cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland and Stockton are facing a wave of crime as criminals take over the streets.

California continues to suffer a wave of crime in cities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles where robberies are increasingly common. The Bay Area is facing the most recent wave of crime. There, thieves have been breaking into cars and stealing whatever is inside. They no longer do it only at night. Now, they're even breaking into cars in broad daylight with people around. An example of this is the video that went viral of criminals driving around San Francisco in a Lexus stealing whatever they could from a row of parked cars:

This is known as "bipping and boosting" and refers to the increasingly constant episodes in which a person breaks into a car and grabs whatever they find. As San Francisco Police Lieutenant Tracy McCray explained to The New York Post, it began during the pandemic but cannot be stopped:

It really exploded during the pandemic so much so that someone told me that the sidewalks are glistening and sparkling [with glass from windows] where cars are broken into left and right. The infuriating part is the brazenness of it has gotten off the chain. They don’t even try to hide what they are doing anymore.

People in San Francisco are fed up with the situation in California

The situation has reached such extremes that people have resorted to leaving notes on their cars assuring thieves that there is nothing valuable inside. Supervisor Dean Preston issued a statement in which he acknowledged the worrying trend that the city is experiencing with car break-ins. In addition, he said, the most alarming thing was that officials had made "no progress" in tackling this type of crime:

It’s an unacceptable status quo. Year after year, residents and visitors to our neighborhoods are victimized by car break-ins, but despite many announcements, the City has made no noticeable progress in addressing this persistent issue. It is time to let the public know what the City has been doing, what’s been working and what hasn’t, and what can be done collaboratively to finally reduce car break-ins in San Francisco.

According to the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD), in the last month, there were almost 1,670 car break-ins, while so far there have been over 10,000 cases.

A Gucci store was broken into in Los Angeles

San Francisco isn't the only California town to see crime grow. Similar episodes occurred in Los Angeles. The most recent was in early August when a video went viral showing a group of nine men breaking into a Gucci store in Los Angeles:

According to the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), the robbery took place at a store in the Westfield Century City shopping center in Beverly Hills around 3:10 p.m. The robbery was reported by the LAPD. The footage shows nine hooded thieves running out of the Gucci store with various items. The security guard witnessed the robbery but didn't do anything to stop the thieves. 

The case of 7-Eleven

Defense does not seem to be a solution to this problem either. Another notorious case was that of some workers of a 7-Eleven who beat up a thief who tried to leave the convenience store with hundreds of boxes of cigarettes hidden in a garbage can.

In the footage, shared by thousands of users on social media, the thief can be seen walking through the store, grabbing handfuls of tobacco products and throwing them into the trash can. At this point, the workers warn him to stop and demand he leave.


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Una publicación compartida por Louis Benton (@yo_folkers)

The thief seemed to ignore the workers so one employee grabbed him and tackled him to the ground, while the other grabbed a wooden stick and beat him. After this, the thief begged the workers to stop attacking him.

Just after the incident occurred at the Stockton, California, store, local police said both employees were being investigated for assault. Days later, it was reported that the workers would not end up being charged.

Oakland is overwhelmed by crime

Another town that is experiencing a wave of crime is Oakland. There, CNN reported, local police have gone so far as to recommend people use air horns to protect their homes as well as put up security bars on doors and windows to prevent thieves from breaking in:

The recommendation seems scarce if compared with the crime data recorded by the city. According to NBC data, vehicle break-ins and robberies doubled in 2023 when compared to those reported in the same period in 2019 while carjackings with violence tripled.

Homes are also not safe and the city's Police Department announced that home break-ins "increased by 41%" while the robberies went up by “more than 20%." The only good news is that homicides fell by 14% compared to 2022, although that does not solve the rest of the problems that Oakland, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Stockton are facing. This is proof that California has a problem with crime.