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Security Tips: Summary from SFPD Discussion

Our sincere thanks to District 5 Supervisor Vallie Brown, Taraval Station Captain Rainsford and his team, and the many merchants who participated in this important discussion held on August 14. Despite the hardship of the recent series of break-ins on affected businesses, we were pleased to learn that SFPD has made some arrests related to these crimes. Contributing to SFPD’s ability to identify suspects was the information received from merchants, including police reports and security camera footage. The majority of incidences were similar in nature and involved breaking the front door window and taking the tablet associated with the point of service system and petty cash. Regarding the $100 False Alarm fees that many of you have received from the City (either as a result of MUNI vibrations causing your alarm to go off or because your alarm company was not able to reach you soon enough to cancel the call to SFPD), Supervisor Brown committed to look into modifying these charges that she saw as burdensome for small business.

Specific recommendations from SFPD for crime prevention of small businesses:

  • Surveillance cameras

  • Position one camera close to the doorway to help identify suspects

  • Verify with your service provider about the quality of image capture at night

  • Ensure that the time/date stamp on the video is accurate

  • Identify key contact within your business so that SFPD can access the camera footage as soon as possible

  • Internal precautions

  • Keep any loose electronics (ipads, etc) and cash safely away and locked up - don’t leave out for “easy grab”. If you do use a safe, bolt it down.

  • External precautions

  • Clean the sidewalk around your business to eliminate loose rocks, sticks and extra cardboard.

  • In some of the recent burglaries, sharp items found around the neighborhood were used to break the window. Also, in some cases cardboard was used to hide the break-in by creating the appearance of someone sleeping the doorway as distraction.

  • Night-time lighting

  • Illuminate just inside and outside of the entrance door

  • SF SAFE (free safety services)

  • SF SAFE ( provides comprehensive on-site assessments of businesses to offer recommendations on how to improve the existing safety and security of the property.

  • Contact SFPD immediately and file a police report

  • The more information that SFPD can gather, the better they can determine patterns of crimes

  • Consider Armor Guard or security glass

  • While more costly than traditional windows, these techniques can provide an extra deterrent for entry by a rock or other blunt instrument. However, more sophisticated criminals might have special tools that could penetrate even the strongest of materials.

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