San Francisco Facing Wave Of Vandalism

A significant increase in vandalism and property crime has affected San Francisco over the last several years, including a new report on damage to businesses in the city. A recent survey found that 97% of San Francisco restaurants have reported at least some vandalism at their locations in the past month.

Local press reported from the Golden Gate Restaurant Association’s findings that 97% of restaurants in the city faced property damage. One pizzeria owner said that their business was recently attacked with acid, which required replacing the glass for about $300.

The city of San Francisco levies a fine if such damage or graffiti is not cleaned up. The fine is $500 if not completed within 30 days.

Local press also reported on a break-in at a Chinese restaurant following a vandalism attack. Critics of the city’s government point to the decision to suspend enforcing anti-graffiti measures during the coronavirus pandemic.

When the city introduced a pilot program to paint over graffiti last year, its office received 10,000 reports of tagging.

Overall, the city has seen its graffiti call volume increase 74% in the last year. Despite the new program, the city has been reported as slow to fix the problem, with a 14% “on time” response rate last year.

The city has also struggled to handle the wave of vandalism through other means. San Francisco introduced grants to paint over tags or replace broken windows.

Despite spending or earmarking about $1.5 million since 2021, the grants often do not cover the entire cost of painting over the defacement.

The city appears to be making some progress, as it recently announced that it would have an officer enforcing its anti-graffiti measures full-time.

The small improvement comes as the city has faced a significant wave of both crime and businesses from large to small closing or relocating out of the city. About half of the businesses that were open in the city in 2019 have since closed.