San Francisco’s restaurant scene is facing a daunting challenge as it struggles with a concerning surge in vandalism according to a recent survey conducted by the Golden Gate Restaurant Association. The findings shed light on the stark reality that only a mere 3% of the 74 restaurants surveyed have managed to avoid property crimes in the past month.
Just 3% of San Francisco restaurants haven’t endured graffiti or property crime in the last month, says a new survey by the Golden Gate Restaurant Association. https://t.co/FSgzhLZmj4
— San Francisco Chronicle (@sfchronicle) September 27, 2023
The city’s commitment to addressing this issue has been noteworthy, spending over $1 million on vandalism relief since 2021. Nearly 800 businesses have been recipients of grants ranging from $1,000 to $2,000, aimed at mitigating the impacts of graffiti, broken windows, and other acts of vandalism.
Over the past six months, a whopping 10,000 complaints have poured in. In response to this escalating crisis, the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) has taken the unprecedented step of assigning a dedicated officer to investigate just the graffiti-related incidents on a full-time basis.
Needless to say, the consequences of this wave of vandalism have been financially crippling for many businesses.
In a particularly distressing case, a pizza shop in San Francisco’s Mission District fell victim to an acid attack, according to owner Leandro Jayme. Repairing the damage has proven to be exorbitantly expensive, with the replacement of even a small glass square costing as much as $300.
However, vandalism is not the sole issue plaguing the city. Shoplifting has also emerged as a significant problem, prompting retailers to implement extreme security measures.
Grocery stores, pharmacies, and other businesses have resorted to installing high-tech security devices and hiring private security guards to combat rampant theft. Meanwhile, a Walgreens store resorted to locking its freezers with chains as a response to the relentless theft, occurring up to 15 to 20 times a day, as reported by an employee.
One contributing factor to the surge in shoplifting is Proposition 47, a voter-approved law from 2014 that downgraded theft of merchandise valued at less than $950 to a misdemeanor, often left uninvestigated. Recent polls indicate that a majority of Californians support revisiting Proposition 47 to reinstate penalties for specific types of thefts.
While overall crime in San Francisco has experienced a slight decrease this year, specific categories of violent crime have seen troubling increases. Murder rates have risen by 3%, reaching a total of 40 murders. Robberies have surged by 16%, with 2,039 incidents reported so far, and car thefts have increased by 11%, totaling 5,038 cases.