Vandalism victim says crime highlights need for mental health services

A surveillance video captures someone vandalizing a car in San Francisco's Castro neighborhood for no apparent reason.

It happened in an area where there is a mix of homes and businesses.

The car that was vandalized belongs to Matt Bergland who lives just steps from where the incident took place.

He and neighbors say vandalism and people behaving erratically are ongoing problems.

Bergland says he's speaking out to raise awareness about the need for more mental health services.

"It's kind of astonishing," says Bergland as he describes what's seen on the surveillance video,

"You see this man, fully, violently take a planter box and throw it through my windshield."

He says the video was given to him by a neighbor.

Bergland's 2010 silver Honda Accord was parked on Noe Street-just off of Market Street.

It happened around 8:30 Tuesday morning.

"At first, I was pretty mad and I wasn't sure what was going on," says Bergland,"I'm really glad no one was hurt and there was minimal damage to my car. At the end of the day, it was more annoying than anything." 

He says he doesn't know the suspect or recognize him.

"I think he needs help. He's disturbed, possibly on substances," says Bergland.  

He and a neighbor say it's common to see people with behaviorial issues in the area. While covering this story, a KTVU crew saw a man walking down the street yelling.

Neighbors say most people they've seen behaving erractically are not violent, but that there have been other incidents of vandalism.

One neighbor says just months ago, a man who was disrupting a business nearby also tried to kick in the front door of his home. 

"It's really disconcerting, It's worrisome," says Daniel Smith who was home when the man damaged his door.  

"We need places to get folks off the streets," says Supervisor Rafael Mandelman who represents the Castro District. 

He says the city has been working on providing resources including a shelter for homeless people with behavioral issues.

It was supposed to be housed in a building on Valencia Street. The original opening date was this past summer, but the pandemic put the project on hold. 

"Right now, unless someone actually commits a crime and is caught, there's really very little intervention," says Mandelman. 

As for the vandalized car, Bergland says he paid $180 out of pocket to replace the windshield and is temporarily parking his car in another neighborhood.

"As a native San Franciscan, I love this city.

This isn't discouraging to me. I will always love the city. Things like this happen. I'll park here again," says Bergland. 

At this point, it appears that the vandalism suspect has not been arrested or identified.

Earlier this year, District Attorney Chesa Boudin proposed reimbursing victims for the cost of the damage.

But he tells KTVU the city decided not to fund the program.