San Francisco, with its massive Golden Gate Bridge, historical sites such as the infamous Alcatraz prison, and popular tourist destinations like Lombard Street and Fisherman’s Wharf, was once the pride of California. But in recent days, it has fallen into disrepair. Crime and hostility fill its streets, and both people and businesses are drowning in fear. It has even been referred to as America’s very own Gotham. It’s no wonder the once-bustling city is turning into a ghost town.
Luckily, there are a few that are willing to stand up and try to “take our city back.” The owner of Boba Guys, a local tea shop, posted a picture of his front windows after they had been smashed in during a robbery, and he called for an end to constant destruction.
He wrote, “We just had out third break-in in SF this year. Another broken window which we will board up immediately. Seems like we’ve seen a lot of boarded-up windows and empty storefronts these days.”
“We are known for our transparency and empathy, so here’s an official statement. People, especially other small businesses, wanted us to speak out more since the last break-in. We all know property crimes are skyrocketing in SF. We are turning into Gotham with jokers taking over the city…”
He continued, saying, “SF is a shell of what it used to be – I’m a local, son of a retired Muni bus operator and Pacific Bell call center representative. I’ve seen this city transform into Gotham, and it makes me sad. It’s time for radical solutions that think long term.”
“It’s time we take our city back.”
His post was easily relatable to many within the city’s borders.
As the San Francisco Chronicle writes: “Within the first 16 months after it opened, Pine Tar Grill, Martin’s San Francisco Giants-themed business of Folsom Street filled with sports memorabilia, was burglarized three times. The final incident was caught on camera, showing a person breaking the glass of the front door at around 4 a.m. to steal cash, sports-related bobblehead toys and computers, Martin said.”
“Repairs cost thousands of dollars and were a big factor in his decision to close the bar last month…”
But this wasn’t the only business remarked on. “At the fine dining destination Nightbird and its adjoining bar, Lindon Room, in Hayes Valley, chef-owner Kim Alter said it isn’t unusual to find crowbar marks on the doors of her building from people trying to break in after hours. She recently spent roughly $6,000 to install a new security system to deter property crime and $15,000 installing gates over her doors. Such expenses are pushing businesses away from the city, she added.”
The Chronicle noted that Alter said, “No one wants to open a restaurant in San Francisco.” She also mentioned that she would like to expand her business, but the high crime rate in the city makes her wonder if it’s a good idea.
According to the FBI, San Francisco had the highest property crime rate per capita of all major cities in the US, with around 150 property crimes a day. And that was last October. Over a year later, crime rates have only increased in the city.
Add that to the amount of filth strewn in the streets, the prolific drug problems, and the near countless number of deranged homeless that populate the city, and it’s no wonder small businesses are closing up shop and moving elsewhere. Few can afford the high prices of increased security measures, and even fewer can even walk down their street in peace.
Jeffrey Woo, another local business owner, compared the streets to “a war zone” last year after one of his coworkers witnessed an attempted murder right outside of their doors.
And the crimes aren’t contained to one or just a few areas either.
Two months ago, Mr. Smiths, a popular bar that has been in business since the early 2000s, closed. The owner said he didn’t have much of a choice, as organized drug deals take place on an hourly occurrence on the corner right out front. Oh, the bar is located directly across the street from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
No one wants to do business with such criminal activity so close to home, not that customers will want to visit such places either. Woo, Alter, and Boba Guys are all asking for some much-needed help from their government. But it seems they will not likely get it.