Vandalism is becoming almost unavoidable for San Francisco’s restaurants, a new survey shows.
Only 3% out of 74 restaurants surveyed said they had not experienced graffiti or property crime in the last month, according to a new survey from the Golden Gate Restaurant Association.
The city has spent $1 million on grants for vandalism relief since 2021, and nearly 800 businesses have received $1,000 or $2,000 grants for graffiti, broken windows, or other vandalism, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Now, the San Francisco Police Department has even assigned an officer to investigate graffiti full-time.
Meanwhile, businesses are suffering, and repairing the damage is expensive.
A pizza shop in San Francisco’s Mission District was recently hit with acid, the owner told ABC7.
“This is acid so you can’t just remove it. They have to replace the glass,” Supreme Pizza owner Leandro Jayme told the outlet. He said replacing even one small glass square costs him $300.
Some restaurants said they gave up, including Shuggie’s, also in the Mission district, which received a grant, but gave up trying to clean up the almost daily graffiti.
Shoplifting is another major problem for the crime-ridden city.
In the past, San Francisco’s stores have geared up with unprecedented security measures to try to deter shoplifters.
Supermarket chain Safeway installed exit gates that require customers to scan their receipts in some of its Bay Area grocery stores. A Walgreens locked its freezers with chains in response to shoplifters hitting the store 15 to 20 times a day, according to an employee.
In 2021, businesses in San Francisco’ Union Square hired private security to combat the “smash and grab” robberies that plagued the area.
Part of the reason for the shoplifting increase is Proposition 47, a 2014 voter-approved law that made the theft of merchandise under $950 in value a misdemeanor that is often not investigated.
Most Californians support changing Prop 47 to reinstate penalties for certain thefts, according to a 2022 poll.
Overall crime in San Francisco is slightly down this year, but certain types of violent crime are up, according to police data.
Murder is up 3% to 40 murders so far. Robberies are up 16% to 2,039 robberies so far. Car thefts are up 11% to 5,038 thefts.
Crime, open-air drug use, and homelessness have caused businesses to flee San Francisco’s downtown, where foot traffic has thinned.
The city’s drug crisis hit a grim milestone last month with a record 84 accidental drug overdose deaths in August, according to preliminary city data. So far this year, a total of 563 people have died from a drug overdose in San Francisco.
Homelessness has only gotten worse since before the pandemic. About 38,000 people are homeless in the Bay Area on a given night, up 35% since 2019.
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