SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - Paramedics and EMTs who work for a private ambulance company in San Francisco say their cars are getting broken into at work, and they've even been physically threatened while returning to their vehicles after going off duty.
The break-ins have been happening at American Medical Response's headquarters at the corner of 23rd and Illinois streets in the city's Central Waterfront neighborhood.
A field employee who only wants to be identified as "Jim" said his car and dozens of the 60 employees at AMR headquarters have been the target of car thieves over the past six months.
"Me personally, when they broke into my car, they stole a Go Pro [camera], " said Jim.
Workers say they noticed the spike in auto break-ins coincided with management's decision to force field employees to park their cars outside of this secured lot.
"At this point, the fleet of ambulances is taking up essentially all of the area in our secured parking," explained Rod Brouhard, Operations Manager with American Medical Repsonse. Brouhard said that AMR has installed more and better quality surveillance cameras and lighting around the building in the wake of the break-ins.
Soon, a monitor will be installed inside the building, so that all employees can see what's happening on surrounding streets.
But employees say that's not enough. "We, as their employees, should be treated a little bit better," said Jim. "I think we should at least have our own designated parking space or or at least have security that's roaming around, making sure this place is safe."
"Believe me, we're taking this very seriously working with PD to see what we can do to increase patrols in the area," said Brouhard.
Police tell KTVU that they are are happy to do patrols but that may not solve the problem. "This is a growing epidemic," said Officer Carlos Manfredi. "And the reality is that this is a non-violent offense. Auto burglaries are on the rise. Until these criminals are actually getting convicted, and facing charges like incarceration or paying restitution, it's going to continue to happen over and over again."
"Our company won't pay for [damages], our insurance won't pay for it, so it's out of our pocket to get our car fixed," said Jim.
Workers say they've also been physically threatened by car thieves when they get off shift.
And while AMR says it offers incentives for workers to take mass transit, those *aren't* options for those who work late or overnight shifts.