Summer is a hot time for tourism at Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo, even hotter for thieves prowling the cars along Zoo Drive.
From January 1 to July 31, there were 64 reports of vehicle break-ins within a half-mile of the zoo. A majority of the break-ins, as reported by the Automated Regional Justice Information System (ARJIS), a database that tracks crime in San Diego and Imperial Counties, occurred between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Zoo Drive, the street that leads to the Zoo's main parking lot.
Vehicle break-ins are an issue throughout Balboa Park. According to an August 13 report from the San Diego Police Department, out of 124 neighborhoods in San Diego, Balboa Park ranks number 23 for car break-ins so far this year.
And while the park ranks in the top 25 for vehicle break-ins, theft in the zoo's main parking lot has steadily increased since the beginning of the year.
During the month of January only 5 incidents were reported. That number spiked the following month to 7, and in March the number of break-ins jumped to 12 incidents. While April was a slow month for car burglaries — only 3 break-ins were reported to the San Diego Police Department — in May the number of car break-ins rose to 9 and has not decreased since.
Detective Gary Hassen, San Diego Police Department spokesperson, didn't respond to this correspondent's questions about strategies that the San Diego Police Department is implementing to end the sedan snatchings at San Diego's main attraction.