Some insult could drop off the injury of having a car stolen and then recovered in San Francisco, under a new tow fee scheme before the city's Board of Supervisors.
The city's current system allows a car-theft victim 20 minutes to get his or her car from the street where police find it. If they can't get there, car owners are charged close to $500, according to Paul Rose, spokesman for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. That charge includes a $263 SFMTA towing fee and a $220.75 contractor's towing fee.
Then, the unfortunate theft victim gets a four-hour window before the contractor's storage fee starts charging -- that's $57.25 for the first day and $66.75 for each day after that.
"You’re already victimized once when your car is stolen, and then to be effectively victimized again, it just struck me as unfair," said the proposal's author, Supervisor Scott Wiener. "It’s also an economic justice issue because for people who are lower income, their car might be their lifeline to get to work, and if they can’t afford to get their car out of the towing yard, that’s a huge hardship."
The National Insurance Crime Bureau awarded the Bay Area the dubious distinction of having the highest auto theft rate in the nation Tuesday, with 29,093 reported thefts in 2014. Any of those cars recovered by San Francisco police would likely be wrapped into the city's infamously high towing fees.