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San Francisco’s Crime Crisis Out of Control, New Poll Shows Over a Third of Residents Plan to Leave the City

A survey of San Francisco residents conducted over the summer showed that nearly two-thirds of its residents believe the city is going downhill.

The SF Next survey conducted by the San Francisco Chronicle found that 65 percent of respondents said the city is worse now than when they arrived.

According to the Chronicle, 37 percent of those participating said they would leave the city within three years.

The survey found that 78 percent of those between 50 and 65 who participated said the city had grown worse. Among those who arrived in the city before 2009, 69 percent said it was deteriorating.

“The city’s gone downhill since I was a kid,” respondent Robert Zwissig said, looking back to 1959.

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“I’m getting kind of fed up with the city,” respondent Dae Echols, 53, said, noting that he expects to move out when he retires. “I just remember the hippie generation, and it was all about, take care of your friends, brotherly love.

“And that is totally gone,” he added.

Crime, homelessness and housing affordability were the biggest problems cited in the survey.

“I’d prefer to stay here,” Saadullah Saeed said. “But if we start a family, then I don’t see myself being able to afford a large enough space to raise a family.”

Political consultant John Whitehurst said he has “never seen voters more upset and angry in San Francisco than they have been over the last two years and continue to be.”

In the year ending July 2021, San Francisco had a 6.3 percent population decline, tops for U.S. cities. The San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley metro area had the third highest net loss of people, according to SFGate, with 128,870 people moving out.

As residents flee, business owners in San Francisco’s Castro District are saying they may be forced out of business.

Dave Karraker, Co-President of the Castro Merchants Association said businesses should  “stop paying taxes and stop paying the fees for licenses because the city is not providing the services that are supposed to be guaranteed based on what we’re paying to the city,” according to KRON-TV.

The Merchants Association said 21 percent of neighborhood storefronts are vacant in a neighborhood riddled with vandalism and drug use.

“We’re at a point now where it’s next to impossible to run a business in the Castro when you’re dealing with these daily issues that you know a small business owner shouldn’t have to worry about whether or not their front window is going to get smashed today,” Karraker said, noting that sporadic responses by authorities have achieved little.

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“It’s a game of whack-a-mole. They come out. They might clear up an encampment and that encampment then returns two days later at another corner,” Karraker said.

Tom Wong, a private security firm owner, could not take it any longer and moved to the suburbs, according to Fox News.

My business was robbed. It was broken into and my equipment was robbed. My vehicle was constantly being broken into,” he said.

Would you leave San Francisco if you lived there?

“There’s open drug use. One of my client’s sites is right next to a safe injection site and the street is literally filled with drug dealers. There are probably about 15-20 drug dealers around the clock on the same block. And the residents are scared. My client, he could barely protect his home.

“And it’s just really, really bad right now,” he said.

Wong said he did not want to go.

“It was a home that I knew and loved. We got here because of the district attorney, we’re loose on crime, we have open drug use, we’re a sanctuary city, it just doesn’t work. Their policies don’t work. It’s a feel-good, it’s a slogan, but it doesn’t work. And we need to change that,” he said.

The survey used a “random sample of 1,653 San Francisco residents age 18 and older” who were “asked more than 90 questions about the state of the city. The survey was conducted from June 27 to July 11, 2022. Some individuals participating “completed online questionnaires, and others were interviewed by telephone,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

No margin of error was provided.

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