San Francisco District Attorney proposes paying victims of car break-ins

San Francisco's District Attorney is pitching a plan to pay for broken car windows for city residents. The DA says his office is looking out for crime victims and this is just one step in making them whole again after an auto burglary.

City-wide auto burglaries are down, but the District Attorney says there are still way too many, so he's putting his money where his mouth is, asking the city to approve more than $1.5 million to pay for broken windows in the city.

Drivers who've come back to their vehicles to find a pile of broken glass share a common sense of dread, not only going through their vehicle to see what was taken, but also having to pay to replace the broken window, in some cases over and over and over again.

"I think I'm at three or four times," said Scott Wood. " I've lost count which is kind of the saddest thing I can say about it."

"What we can do, with the support of the city is support victims and heal the harm that this crime causes," said District Attorney Chesa Boudin.

Now San Francisco's new District Attorney is rolling out his new budget proposal which includes over $1.5 million specifically for San Franciscans who've had their windows smashed in auto burglaries.

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He said last year there were more than 8,900 auto break-ins with arrests in about 1% of those cases. "The proposal we're making today would allow us to have victim advocates help those victims pay to get their car windows fixed," said Boudin.

The District Attorney is still working on the details, but says the money could go directly to pay for replacing broken windows or toward deductibles for insurance companies to replace them.

Former supervisor Quentin Kopp says he's not opposed to the idea, but at this point he still has a lot of questions. "Why should a prosecutor take the responsibility of reimbursing people who have suffered damages as a result of the breaking of an automobile window?" asked Kopp.

As for those who've had to go through an auto burglary or three or four, they say they're interested in hearing more too. "I'm intrigued by this. I'd have to see a little bit more of the mechanics of it to see how it affects my insurance, if it does," said Wood. "How it affects the city budget."

Boudin will include his request for funds to pay for those broken car windows to the mayor, the mayor will in turn present her budget in May, and Board of Supervisors are expected to approve the city's final budget with or without the auto burglary funds before August 1st.