One aspect of the situation that has received comparatively less coverage, however, involves the vandalism that has become ubiquitous on the city’s streets. San Francisco eateries have been particularly hard hit by this troubling trend, as evidenced by a startling new report by the Golden Gate Restaurant Association.
Of all the restaurants surveyed for the report, just 3% indicated that they had not been the target of graffiti or some other type of property crime within the previous month.
— New York Post (@nypost) September 28, 2023
Leandro Jayme, who owns Supreme Pizza in the Mission District, stated that the windows of his restaurant were doused with acid that could not be removed.
“They have to replace the glass,” he said, noting that each small section of the window costs $300 to replace.
Local officials have established a fund aimed at dealing with the problem and have handed out roughly $1 million thus far to almost 800 businesses to repair broken windows, cover up graffiti, or otherwise address vandalism.
Those grants represent just a small portion of the overall problem, however. A hotline established to receive reports of graffiti has been inundated with approximately 10,000 calls over the past six months.
The owners of Shuggie’s, another Mission-area restaurant, received one grant but it did not prevent future graffiti. They say the vandalism gets worse by the day and it is no longer even worth the effort to try to clean it.
Vandalism is just one glaring sign of a city that appears to have been sacrificed to criminals due in large part to the lenient, if not permissive, attitudes of local voters, politicians and prosecutors. Nearly a decade ago, a voter-approved statewide proposition passed that essentially decriminalized thefts under $950, which unsurprisingly led to a massive spike in brazen shoplifting and widespread store closures.
Many businesses determined to remain open have had to resort to hiring private security and installing anti-theft devices that prevent direct access to most items they sell.
The law-abiding citizens who remain in California are clearly becoming frustrated by the societal decay around them. A survey last year found that a clear majority of respondents want to see the decriminalization of theft repealed and harsher penalties implemented for such crimes.