Bike thieves have long been breaking into people's garages or plucking bikes from the streets, but now it appears they're exploiting a way to get into building lobbies directly. As one Uptown Almanac reader writes, a thief recently used a crowbar to break into their mailman's key box to gain access to his building off of of 18th Street, by the Women's Building:
A thief at 4:45am Monday morning tried breaking into my building's garage, failed, but then proceeded to break into the building's key box and used the keys to get into the hallway lobby. The thief quickly grabbed my red Mission Bicycle fixie that I had lazily stopped locking indoors.
We asked Officer Matthew Friedman, the man behind SFPD's Anti Bike Theft Twitter account, if this is a common issue and what can be done about it:
Unfortunately, this is not uncommon. I saw this happen a few times when I worked in the Mission District. The SFPD has worked with the US postal police to investigate this type of crime. In the past we have also been able to help expedite with changing the locks (this should be done ASAP regardless), better securing the mailbox key, or even changing how the mailman gains access to the building (including the location of delivery).Also consider not locking up or leaving anything in the lobby of a building. Thieves scout out apartment buildings where they can access a security door steal property (bikes) then get out quickly. In some cases I have discovered it is easier to gain access to a secured building lobby then a garage door.
Friedman also recommends working with San Francisco SAFE, which offers security assessments on apartment buildings and give “advice on how to overcome security issues.”