Skip to code content (skip section selection)
(1) The San Francisco Civil Grand Jury issued a report in 2016 regarding auto burglaries in San Francisco. According to that report, the number of auto burglaries in 2015 reached a five-year high, with 24,826 reported incidents. This was a 34% increase over the previous year and almost three times more than reported in 2011. Based on auto burglary data from the Police Department (“SFPD”), the Civil Grand Jury estimated that at least $19 million worth of property was stolen in auto burglaries in 2015. Auto burglaries have become one of the top public safety concerns for many San Franciscans.
(2) One method of addressing auto burglary is prosecuting the career criminals who constitute 20% of the perpetrators responsible for a large majority of incidents. But a major challenge in prosecuting auto burglary is that many victims are visitors or tourists, who are unable or unwilling to return to San Francisco to testify. When foreign tourists are victims, cases are particularly difficult to prosecute, especially when the victim’s testimony is needed but the victim is beyond the subpoena power of the San Francisco Superior Court. Because prosecution is not always a viable option for combatting auto burglaries, the City must explore other means of addressing the auto burglary problem.
(3) Data from the District Attorney’s Office for 2015-16 suggest that major hot spots for auto burglaries are at or near some of San Francisco’s biggest tourist destinations, like Alamo Square Park, the Embarcadero, Fisherman’s Wharf, Civic Center, Lombard Street, and the Palace of Fine Arts.
(4) Visitors and tourists, many of whom are from other states and countries, are often unfamiliar with the City and inattentive to risks of crime, and are known to carry large sums of money, credit cards, electronics, and other valuables. Many visitors and tourists use rental cars to get around the City. The San Francisco Travel Association reported in March 2016 that San Francisco received 24.6 million tourists and visitors in 2015, an increase of 2.7% from 2014. The same group’s study from 2011 found that automobile options are popular with San Francisco tourists and visitors, with 35.1% using a personal car and 14.6% using a rental car.
(5) Many visitors and tourists leave valuables in their rental cars in plain sight, the perfect recipe for auto burglary. According to SFPD data on City-wide rental vehicle auto burglary incidents, there has been a significant increase in burglaries of rented vehicles from 2015 to 2016.
(6) Because victims of auto burglaries are frequently tourists using rental cars who are unaware of or oblivious to the risks of leaving valuables in the car, one of the Civil Grand Jury’s recommendations for curbing the number of break-ins is to educate users of rental cars on crime risks and prevention. In light of the importance of tourism to the local economy, the City should make an effort to reduce auto burglary, which has such a negative impact on visitors and tourists.
(7) Signs warning drivers to remove valuables from their cars have been installed near some tourist hot spots in San Francisco, such as Alamo Square, Japantown, and near the Palace of Fine Arts. Initial reports from SFPD indicate that the signs have helped reduce the number of auto burglaries in those areas. Providing similar notice to drivers of rental cars would likely induce those drivers to take greater precautions to prevent theft, resulting in fewer rental car burglaries.
(8) San Francisco International Airport has launched a campaign to curb rental car burglaries through consumer education. The Airport has posted signs within the rental car center warning of the risks of leaving valuables in rental vehicles. The Airport has also provided rental companies written materials for distribution to customers advising customers of the risk. Further, an audio announcement regarding the risk of auto burglary is played on the AirTrain connecting the airport terminals to the rental car center.
(1) Provide the following written disclosure to each authorized driver of a Motor Vehicle rented or leased from a Location in the City: “Prevent theft: Remove valuables from the rental car and lock the doors.” This disclosure shall be provided either in person when the driver rents the Motor Vehicle or electronically when the driver reserves the Motor Vehicle through an online reservation system. When provided in person at the time of rental, the disclosure shall be made on a piece of paper separate from any other document the Person provides to the driver. When provided electronically in connection with an online reservation, the disclosure shall be included on the reservation confirmation sent to the driver’s e-mail address. The disclosure shall be printed in typeface sufficiently large as to be easily readable by customers.
(2) Provide the following written disclosure either on the key ring for the keys to the rented or leased Motor Vehicle or inside the passenger compartment of the Motor Vehicle: “Prevent theft: Remove valuables from the rental car and lock the doors.” Places in the passenger compartment where the disclosure may be provided include, but are not limited to, on the sun visor or in the glove compartment. The disclosure shall be printed in typeface sufficiently large as to be easily readable by customers.
(3) Post at each Location a written notice stating: “To prevent theft, do not leave valuables in the rental car and remember to lock the doors.” The notice shall be posted in an area accessible to customers and where customers routinely are present. The lettering on the sign shall be readable by customers generally from a distance of at least 20 feet.
(c) The requirements of subsection (b) of this Section 976.6 shall not apply to the rental or lease of Trailers.
(d) Operative date. In accordance with Section 5(b)1 of the ordinance in Board File No. 161065, creating this Section 976.6, subsections (b)(1) and (b)(3) are operative 90 days after the effective date of said ordinance, and subsection (b)(2) is operative 180 days after the effective date of said ordinance.
(e) Within 30 days of the effective date of the ordinance in Board File No. 161065, creating this Section 976.6, the Police Department shall notify in writing all current holders of permits issued under former Section 1227 of this Code (renumbered to become Section 976.3) for the rental or lease of Motor Vehicles excluding Trailers, of the new conditions applicable to such permits established by Section 976.6, and the operative dates of Section 976.6.
(Added by Ord. 201-17, File No. 161065, App. 10/5/2017, Eff. 11/4/2017, Oper. 2/2/2018 (part))