Break-Ins Are on the Rise: Why and How You Can Keep Your Building Safe

A-burgler-breaking-in-is--008Break-ins both home and auto are on the rise.

I have been in this business for 13 years and had one break in in my career, until last year. Since then, it seems almost monthly I hear of an incident from a tenant or client about some crime on their property.

  • Some things I’ve experienced
  • Mail theft
  • Break in through open window while tenant was home
  • Smashed sliding glass door while a tenant was on vacation
  • Stolen items from laundry room

The reason for the increase in crime is mainly attributable to Proposition 47, which California voters passed in 2014. The initiative reduces the classification of most “non-serious and non-violent property and drug crimes” from a felony to a misdemeanor, resulting in lesser sentences for criminals who commit these crimes. In addition, the new law permits re-sentencing for anyone currently service a prison sentence for one of these crimes.

The following crimes have been reclassified as misdemeanors.

  • Shoplifting, where the value of property stolen does not exceed $950
  • Grand theft, where the value of the stolen property does not exceed $950
  • Receiving stolen property, where the value of the property does not exceed $950
  • Forgery, where the value of forged check, bond or bill does not exceed $950
  • Fraud, where the value of the fraudulent check, draft or order does not exceed $950
  • Writing a bad check, where the value of the check does not exceed $950
  • Personal use of most illegal drugs

To see full information about Proposition 47, go here:

The result of the law, according to law enforcement officers I have spoken with, is that criminals are committing more crimes knowing that they will receive a lesser sentence, sometimes only probation, not jail time. Also, more criminals are getting out of prison and are committing new crimes. In addition, police forces are dedicating fewer resources to investigating these misdemeanor crimes and focusing more on felonies, so fewer offenders get caught.

As a landlord, there are some security measures you can put in place to keep your building and tenants safe.

  1. Install security cameras. Sometimes just the presence of a camera is enough of a deterrent.
  2. Install motion-activated lighting
  3. Install timers on garage doors so they close automatically
  4. Install automatic closers on security gates

For more information on home security, please visit the San Francisco Police Department web site.


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