On Wednesday, March 23, at approximately 2230 hours, I parked and locked my vehicle on the 1200 block of Franklin Street, between Post and Geary. Upon my return, approximately 30 minutes later, I saw that my left rear passenger window was shattered. Upon closer examination, I noticed the sidewalk was littered with shattered glass and that the vehicles parked behind me also had their windows shattered. After letting out some sailor-worthy expletives, I commiserated with the woman parked behind my vehicle. We were frustrated and yes, angry!
She was just as mad as I was, especially after working all day. She had moved her vehicle closer to her workplace so she could get home just a little quicker and now some ne’er do well, shattered her window for nothing but chump change. All this added insult to injury, as a family member had to go to the emergency room located directly across from where I parked my car. I am of the belief that the universe would not throw another obstacle at me, but the universe was not busy enough on this night.
I had officially become a casualty of the auto burglary epidemic! Fortunately, nothing was stolen from my vehicle - not even my dog’s dirty towel I use to wipe him down after playing at the beach, however it still managed to rankle me. Like the countless victims of this “victimless crime” I knew that I now had to devote time to get the window repaired and pay for an unexpected expense. It is all annoying as hell as that broken and loose glass remains days and months later! After mentally sorting through the repair process my next thought turns to the dilemma of: to report or not to report? I, of all people, know the probability of this type of crime being solved in this city with someone being held responsible. So, I think to myself, “Screw it,” I am one of thousands of people in San Francisco that will not report a crime. The reality is, with our limited resources, there are much more serious crimes in need of attention and my broken window is not one of them.
But wait a minute, I ask myself, “didn’t the city state that for victims of auto burglaries, a fund was set up to pay for window repairs?” Could it be that I would not have to pay out of pocket for this? I decided to check into this “victim fund” all the while trying to lower my temper. Well, lowering my temper did not happen! Back in 2020, the District Attorney made a pitch to use their budget to pay for victims’ reimbursement if the victim’s insurance did not cover window replacement. I decided to check the DA’s website for more information. It was a good sales pitch and looks like they are trying to do something, but most people have insurance to pay for window replacement, especially in San Francisco and if they do not, they should!
After further investigation I discovered there was no update on the website about that budget item passing. Amazingly enough however, the District 5 Supervisor was able to get a reimbursement program going for businesses that had been vandalized in that supervisory district.
Funny, I would think that this program would be available throughout the city, not limited to one district. Also filing out the form to get reimbursed, is a nightmare! Who would want to do that when they are asking for tax returns, they want the victim to pay for it then they will reimburse you? No wonder city government is in shambles. People get fed up with the process, with all the hoops you must jump through to get anything done. In the end, it would not have benefitted me since I do have insurance, lucky me.
Just as I had suspected from the onset, I was left with no options. All that was left to do was suck it up and get the window repaired. I realized, after I had calmed down, in the grand scheme of life, this was not terrible. Inconvenient? Yes. Terrible? No. Looking back at the month of March, a couple of good things happened:
- Stengel Victory. None bigger however than Officer Stangel winning a not guilty verdict in his trial. He was facing the possibility of losing his freedom, so my broken window did not amount to a hill of beans, as Bogey said. The brilliant and fierce attorney he had, Nicole Pifari, fought hard and smart to make sure he came out on the winning side. The system worked and people should be happy that it did. I know some will not appreciate or understand the complexity of the case and the outcome because they may not understand what we do and our training. This is the justice system that we have, so we must work within the parameters of it while continuing to try and make it better for everyone.
- Booster Deadline Pushed Back. Another win for us was that we were able to push back the date of the booster mandate. We are still pushing hard at the department and city to end the booster mandate, as other counties are doing away with it, and as soon as we get more information, we will communicate that out to you. (See Chief’s open letter to the members on page 6 for updated booster policy.)
With winter leaving us and spring right around the corner, people are anxious to get out and go anywhere and everywhere. It is something that we will have to learn to live with and manage. We are resilient people and hopefully the authorities in city government will figure it out also and get the city back on point and open for fun. Of course, with the city opening, the streets will be sparkling from all that broken glass!