Too little, too late? San Francisco’s Mayor Breed FINALLY admits city is ‘in a crisis’ and declares ‘state of emergency’ to combat the ‘nasty’ streets of Tenderloin district where violent crime has exploded because of lenient sentencing policies
- Mayor London Breed, 47, has declared a state of emergency after saying San Francisco was in a drug overdose ‘crisis,’ as well as crime
- The city is experiencing multiple fentanyl deaths a day and the streets are littered with tents and human waste
- The Tenderloin has long been an epicenter of homelessness and drug use
- Part of her response is to increase police force and ‘accountability’
The mayor of San Francisco declared a state of emergency on Friday in Tenderloin, an effort to bring down overdose deaths and violent crime in one of the city’s poorest and most drug-infested neighborhoods.
Mayor London Breed, 47, said at a press conference that the city was in ‘crisis’ and that the streets were ‘nasty’ as more crime and drug overdoses littered the streets.
‘We are in a crisis and we need to respond accordingly,’ she said on Friday. ‘Too many people are dying in this city, too many people are sprawled on our streets.’
‘We have to meet people where they are.’
Breed said that rapid drug intervention is needed because about two people a day are dying of overdoses, mostly from fentanyl, in the Tenderloin and the city’s South of Market neighborhood.
‘The work that we have in place after our assessment allow us this ability through this emergency declaration to move quickly, to move fast, to change the conditions – specifically of the Tenderloin community’ she said.
‘This is necessary in order to see a difference.’
The move came after she on Tuesday performed a dramatic U-turn on the ‘defund the police’ strategy as she called for ‘more aggressive policing’ to replace ‘bulls**t progressive policies’ and said she would ask for more money to be given to the police to stamp out drug dealing, car break-ins and theft.
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Mayor London Breed, 47, declared San Francisco to be in a state of emergency on Friday, citing the city’s Tenderloin district as a drug overdose ‘crisis’
Tenderloin has long been an epicenter of homelessness and drug use. Breed said: ‘Too many people are dying in this city, too many people are sprawled on our streets.’ Her new response to the ‘crisis’ is ‘police response’ and ‘accountability’
The next day, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi slammed the city’s brazen criminals saying the ‘attitude of lawlessness’ was ‘absolutely outrageous.’
‘And some of it is, again, [targeted] high-level stores as the retailers have told us and some of it is your local Walgreens. But none of it is acceptable. And again, it has to be stopped.’
While Pelosi finally denounced her hometown San Francisco’s rampant smash and grab looting as ‘absolutely outrageous,’ she stopped short of endorsing Breed’s plan to increase policing and review zero bail policies.
The Tenderloin has long been an epicenter of homelessness and drug use, but city officials said the problem has worsened as the national opioid crisis escalated over the course of the pandemic.
‘This is a public health emergency demanding a crisis level response, with massive urgency, coordination, and determination to confront this epidemic,’ Breed said, adding that she hopes the measure will save lives.
The emergency declaration will allow the city to cut through red tape that delays the public response to deteriorating conditions in the Tenderloin and quickly provide shelter, counseling and medical care to people suffering from addiction, Breed and other city officials said.
There will also be more coordinated enforcement of illegal activities, street cleanups and other infrastructure improvements to make the neighborhood safer, they said.
‘Everyone in theory can talk about all the policies they want around “no police” and “defund the police,” but at the end of the day, if someone beat your kid like that 11-year-old girl, who are you going to call to protect you?’ Breed said.
She was referring to a Muslim girl in a hijab who was punched in the head on September 29 by a woman who made racist comments. She was arrested for assault, child endangerment and a hate crime.
Crime has risen significantly in San Francisco this year
Part of Breed’s response to the rising crime in the city is to strengthen the police force. On Tuesday, she announced she asked the Board of Supervisors to give the police force more money after cutting $120million in funds last year
Some people are leaving their trunks open to curb break in, so thieves won’t break their windows
Expensive stores – such Neiman Marcus (pictured) have been broken into as well
Many people are living on the streets of the Tenderloin
Black Lives Matter protestors demanded cities defund the police last year, Mayor Breed announced San Francisco would be one of the first to do so and sliced $120million from the budgets of its police and sheriff’s department.
Breed’s announcement came a few days after she pledged to crack down on open drug use, brazen home break-ins and other criminal behavior that she says have made a mockery of the city’s famed tolerance and compassion.
In an emergency police intervention on Tuesday, she announced she was asking the city’s Board of Supervisors for more money to be given to the police to stamp out drug dealing, car break-ins and theft.
Announcing a crime crackdown, she argued that San Francisco officers should get aggressive and ‘less tolerant of all the bulls*** that has destroyed our city’, as she went back on her plans to defund the police.
‘It’s time the reign of criminals who are destroying our city, it is time for it to come to an end,’ she said. ‘And it comes to an end when we take the steps to be more aggressive with law enforcement, more aggressive with the changes in our policies.’
In Tenderloin alone last month, there were six shootings, 20 drug arrests and 16 assault and batteries, according to a CBS local station.
California has experienced multiple robberies lately as crime continues to rise
Across the entire city last month, there were 3,375 reports of larceny-theft, the majority being car break-ins, with SFPD’s Central District seeing the most car smash-and-grabs, recording 876 last month.
Meanwhile, there was a terrifying 15 percent increase in homicide across the city compared to last year, with 53 cases recorded so far this year alone, compared with 46 the year before.
Assault in the city also increased by more than 9 percent from 2,075 last year to 2,2271 cases this year, while overall crimes shot up by 10.2 percent.
Larceny theft also saw a massive 18.3 percent increase from 24,474 to 28,947, according to crime statistics released by the San Francisco Police Department.
But robbery and rape across San Francisco decreased when compared with the year before, with robbery cases falling by 5 percent and rape dropping by more than 13 percent.
Property crimes across the same four cities soared by seven percent between 2020 and 2021, reaching a total of 25,000 in October.
San Francisco is grappling with deep societal pains common to any large US city.
A high percentage of an estimated 8,000 homeless people in San Francisco – many of whom pitch tents in the Tenderloin – are struggling with chronic addiction or severe mental illness, often both. Some people rant in the streets, nude and in need of medical help. Last year, 712 people died of drug overdoses, compared with 257 people who died of COVID-19.
Critics said Breed was backing down on a promise made last year to cut police funding amid a national reckoning of police and systemic racism.
‘Folks can say what they want about this going back on your word, this and that, but at the end of the day the people in this community are not safe. And it is not fair and it’s not right,’ the mayor said.
She said ‘there is a number of things’ San Francisco will do to reform the Tenderloin.
‘A part of that is police response, part of that is accountability, part of that is making sure we are consistent. But the other part of that is being aggressive about getting people into services and support. And not allow what has happened on our streets continue.’
The Mayor went on to say earlier this week that residents should ‘feel safe’ in the city.
‘All of our residents, our workers and everyone who visits our city should feel safe no matter what part of town they are in. I know San Francisco is a compassionate city. We are a city that prides ourselves on second chances and rehabilitation,’ the mayor said.
‘But we’re not a city where anything goes. Our compassion should not be mistaken for weakness or indifference.’
The emergency declaration has to be ratified by the Board of Supervisors. If approved, it can stay in place for up to 90 days, according to The New York Times.
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