If you search “San Francisco crime spike” on the internet, you will find countless stories—going back years—about how the city’s problems are no big deal or are due to forces beyond the control of its policymakers.
But rhetoric didn’t cause a cascade of businesses to close and flee the city.
I recently wrote about how San Francisco’s policies—born of the left-wing ideology that drives the city’s leadership class—are leading directly to its woes. The City by the Bay is on a road to perdition of its own making.
A few recent news reports illustrate that conditions increasingly are getting worse in a city that—by geography and sheer wealth—should be one of the most desirable in the world to live in.
For instance, the statistics on crime and other emergency calls at the downtown Whole Foods store that closed recently were just unreal.
According to a Fox Business report, the Whole Foods on Market Street logged 568 emergency calls in the 13 months since it opened. It wasn’t just run-of-the-mill crime, either. Police reports paint a picture of mayhem and anarchy.
“Male [with] machete is back,” read one 911 call, according to Fox Business. “Another security guard was just assaulted,” read another report.
More from Fox Business:
One call noted that security guards at the store were assaulted by a knife-wielding man, who then sprayed employees with a fire extinguisher.
One man reportedly overdosed from fentanyl and methamphetamine in the bathroom in September, according to the [New York] Times.
At least 14 people were arrested during the 13 months the Whole Foods in the downtown was open, which included serious charges of grand theft and battery, according to the outlet.
Apparently, going into a Whole Foods in San Francisco was a bit like a journey into Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness,” where the ugliness of humanity is revealed as civilization is peeled away. I don’t think that’s the atmosphere Whole Foods typically aims for.
It isn’t just Whole Foods and Nordstrom that are closing shop. A slew of other big brand stores are shuttering in downtown San Francisco because of the deteriorating street conditions and crime.
“As of today, a total of 20 retailers have shuttered stores or announced closures in the Union Square area since 2020, up from 17 just a week ago,” the San Francisco Standard reported Tuesday.
The stores sticking it out are taking almost absurd precautions to protect staff and inventory.
The Target store in the Mission District has locked down entire sections due to rampant shoplifting. Locking up specific, frequently stolen items is becoming common in many retail stores, but this is on a whole other level.
Just watch this video the New York Post put on Twitter:
Good luck getting more than an item or two.
The problem for Target and other retailers is that customers get exasperated with the inconvenience and order basic goods online.
It’s better to pay a few extra bucks for shipping than to wait around in a store for a clerk to open a case for shaving cream or to get sucker-punched by a deranged, drug-addled lunatic in Aisle 5.
Despite these obvious problems, local and national media—doing their best not to make Democrat-run cities look bad—continue to make excuses for San Francisco.
The New York Times described San Francisco’s issues as “intractable,” as if high and escalating crime in big cities is a hard rule of the universe.
“These woes are no ancient, unsolvable mysteries of the human condition,” countered a New York Post editorial.
The problem goes back to San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón, who served from January 2011 until October 2019, and successor Chesa Boudin, who served from January 2020 until July 2022, when he was recalled by voters. The recall demonstrated that there are signs of sanity even in San Francisco, but the city has retained many of the lawless policies of the two men’s tenures.
Of course, Democrats have presided in the mayor’s office since 1968. The latest, Mayor London Breed, hasn’t exactly brought wise leadership to the office. She backed significant cuts to the police budget in 2021 before turning around and begging for more money to alleviate the “staffing shortage” in law enforcement.
Sure, it’s easy to get caught up in sensationalist headlines, but the problems in San Francisco are real. The evidence of dysfunction is ample, indicating something is seriously wrong with the city’s leadership.
Of course, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors has other priorities to focus on. Issues like a $5 million-per-person reparations plan for black residents that would cost the city more than the entire annual budget for all but a few states.
You’d have to be as high as the vagrants passed out on San Francisco streets to think this was possible, especially as the city’s tax base disintegrates.
And it is disintegrating, all right. San Francisco had a massive budget deficit of over $700 million in 2022.
So, as bad as things are going now, San Francisco’s condition may get a lot worse.
The sugar high from tech money is fading. The downtown area is empty and dangerous. As businesses shutter, techies move on, and the remaining middle-class residents and visitors flee, fewer law-abiding residents will remain to keep the city running.
What you are left with is massive open-air drug markets, dirty streets and parks, dangerous trips to the supermarket, and a gem of a city tarnished by a broken ideology and its consequences.
The horror. The horror.
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