Capt. Alexa O'Brien

Police Beat

Busting auto boosters

Capt. Alexa O’Brien


Capt. Alexa O’Brien

As some Richmond Review readers might have already heard or read, I am very familiar

with the Richmond District area. I grew up around here and frequented this area as a kid

and in my adult life as a regular civilian before I became a cop.


During my short time here as the captain of the Richmond Police Station, I have been

spending quite a bit of time patrolling the same areas, meeting with citizens at

community meetings and reading almost every single police report about the

various crimes that have occurred in our district. We have one of the largest police

districts in the City and I can assure you we have the smallest amount of

crime. The crime we do have is concerning and not ignored.


With that said, the Richmond does have a problem with auto burglaries in highly

popular areas for tourism, including:

  • Cliff House area;
  • Clement shopping district, between Second and 11th avenues;
  • Golden Gate Park near the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum and the Academy of Sciences;
  • Geary Boulevard shopping district between Second and 18th avenues;
  • Beach Chalet area, including the Ocean Beach parking lot;
  • City Center shopping center, near Geary and Masonic Avenue.


These tourist areas, like so many around the City, are popular with burglars because they

know tourists will store many of their valuable belongings in the trunk of their car.


My goal here as captain is to convey and spread the message that being smart with your

belongings and planning will prevent people from being a victim of an auto burglary.


For example, you shouldn’t park your car and get out with your designer

purse or big camera bag, put them in the trunk of your car and walk away. What the

victim has just done is show the burglar where all their valuables are located.


The auto burglar will watch the victim walk away, look around to make sure there

are no police in the vicinity, and “pop” – the burglar quickly breaks the window and

steals the items. This whole process can happen in a matter of seconds.


The burglars are usually driven away from where the crime occurred by lookouts who

sit in their vehicle. Then, they are off to their next “hot spot” to do the same thing.

No matter how much we patrol those affected areas, and we do, the burglars lie in

wait for the police presence to leave the area before they commit

their crimes. The best thing to do is to not leave anything inside your vehicle.


Just as I was finishing up writing this piece for the paper, my officers walked into the

station with two juveniles who were arrested for trying to steal a cell phone from a man

walking on Clement Street at 34th Avenue. The victim didn’t want to give up his cell

phone, so the brazen kids dragged him up a ramp where they punched and

kicked him more than 10 times until a witness scared them off.


A suspect description was broadcast to all Richmond Station officers and we were able to

locate the perps a few blocks away and take them into custody. If there is ever a time

when you come face to face with a person attempting to steal your phone,

please just hand it over. It is not worth the fight and you can get seriously injured!


Please be safe and smart when out and about and take care of one another if you see

someone in distress. And say something if you think a crime is occurring or

about to occur.


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