Spikes in Violence May Mean San Francisco Not so Golden After All

By Katherine Castillo

kcasti27@mail.ccsf.edu

 

There is not a day in the city without a violent action happening. Many San Francisco residents claimed that the city was simply not like this twenty-five years ago, but even the most recent residents have expressed to feel unsafe walking its streets. The deplorable situation in San Francisco does not seem to have an immediate solution, meanwhile, residents are beginning to doubt whether the policies that have been taken in recent years have been the result of the current and scary reality of San Francisco, and how long it might take to recover the city from the ruins.

The daily scary scenario the residents of this impressive city have been living in since the beginning of the pandemic is only a small part of what could become an imminent and unimaginable reality for the upcoming years, if the social and economic policies weren’t to change. The hard measures during the pandemic, like the very long quarantine and lockdown that directly affected many small companies almost put the city in checkmate, and consequently have aroused annoyance in those citizens who feel that their requests as residents have not been heard. In addition, the hopelessness and disappointment towards political leaders is a sentiment that has only grown exponentially for a year now. Feeling ignored, cheated, and not heard by the officers is a common thought within San Francisco residents.

“Drifting Away.” Illustration by Kelly Viss. kellyviss.com

In January of 2020 the former San Francisco mayoral candidate Richie Greenberg began to organize the petition to recall the San Francisco District Attorney, Chesa Boudin, who started to serve the city on January 9, 2020. “In 2020, violent crime, home invasions, rampant and unchecked drug dealing and business property theft have turned our city upside down” Greenberg’s petition states. And just until August 8th, 2021 the city had 16,770 cases of larceny theft according to the official numbers of the San Francisco Police Department. It is not a secret for anyone who lives in the city that breaking into cars is the new day-to-day activity with no major consequences, but instead, an annoying and repetitive action for those who park in the streets. Paying so much in taxes, living in one of the most expensive cities of the US, even sometimes in the most prestigious neighborhoods, will not secure your belongings, nor your life.

Feeling insecure and wanting to escape the city does not seem to be a difficult feeling to find among the citizens of San Francisco, while even some people love the city unconditionally and blindly, the deterioration is visibly notorious. The Muni rides for example, stopped being a moment of reflection and archaeological enjoyment to become a moment of tension and wakefulness during the duration of their trip, since now has become the new place to be harassed by those that are under drug effects. Last week, while many were commuting to work on a Saturday at 8:00, a man with a huge meat cutting knife got on the Muni 49 Van Ness/Mission route causing inexplicable terror for those who were just expecting to have a normal Saturday morning. Not feeling safe even while commuting to work can not become a new normality, and we definitely should not allow ourselves to expect this to be our daily routine, full of fear and anxiety just because some politicians did not know how to manage a city during a pandemic.

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