According to the City’s biennial survey of over 2,000 residents, which was just released, while the perceived performance of San Francisco’s local government has maintained a  “B-” rating overall, the percentage of respondents providing a mark of “A” or “B” has slipped from 59% in 2015 to 57% in 2017, with homelessness and housing the two biggest concerns.

The biggest declines on the City’s scorecard, however, were for the condition of neighborhood sidewalks (“B-“) and feelings of safety while walking alone at night (“B-“), each of which dropped by six percentage points.

In fact, the letter grade for walking alone at night in San Francisco is on the cusp of dropping to a “C+” overall. And while feelings of safety have dropped citywide, from a “B+” in 2015 to a “B” today, residents in Supervisorial District 3 (North Beach/ Chinatown) reported the largest declines, with 81% of residents feeling “very safe or safe” while walking alone in their neighborhood during the day, down from 92% in 2015, and only 51% feeling very safe or safe while walking alone at night, down from 68% in 2015.

Residents in Supervisorial District 10 (Bayview/Hunters Point) and District 6 (SOMA/Treasure Island) felt the least safe walking alone during the day, with 62% and 70% of residents feeling “very safe or safe,” respectively.

At night, District 10 (Bayview/Hunters Point) and District 9 (Mission/Bernal Heights) were the lowest rated areas by residents, with only 30% and 32% feeling “very safe or safe” while walking alone, respectively.

San Francisco’s library system received the highest rating (“B+”) among city services surveyed, with gains in internet access offsetting other declines, while the City’s recreation and park system maintained its “B” rating but made gains in both the quality of athletic fields and courts and condition of recreation center and clubhouse buildings.

And Muni has maintained a “B-” rating overall, with slight gains in perceived driver courtesy (“B”) and cleanliness (“C+”) over the past two years, according to the survey, with a margin of sampling error of ±2.1% at the 95% confidence interval per the sample size.

42 thoughts on “City Survey Says: San Franciscans Are Feeling Less Safe”
  1. you mean to tell me that people don’t feel safe walking through an open air mental asylum that doubles as a public toilet?

    1. I know, right? Who would’ve thought that deranged vagrants and drug addicts living in Mad Max-style encampments would make people unsafe?

    2. yes, this is clearly the shame of san francisco. the highest per capita overall budget of any city in America, the highest per capita spend on homeless of any city in america, and pproblem only gets worse. weve tried the carrot approach with no stick. Can we ass a little stick to the carrot?

      Im quiet sick of my young kids having to see people passed out with their bare butts haning out and a needle next to them? The resident should file a class action against the city for not trying to solve or even hep this issue.

  2. Gasp! You mean that walking among homeless people who roam the streets like zombies at night is somehow considered “unsafe”? ELITIST BIGOTS!

  3. Using entire base districts is useless.

    Mission Bay is not Potrero Hill or Bayview. Bernal Height is different from Inner Mission.

  4. u.s. cities are not safe by any measure compared to most other modern countries. i guess the sunset people feel safe relative to how they feel when they visit hunter’s point, and the ones who somehow feel safe in hunter’s point are probably thinking relative to their homies in east oakland.

    1. True, but Hunters Point is rough by Oakland standards. You won’t find anyone in east oakland saying “wow i wish i lived in the safety of hunters point”…

    1. Let us go then, you and I,
      Where the crap is spread out across the sidewalk
      Like a patient etherized upon a table;
      Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
      The muttering retreats
      Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
      And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
      Streets that follow like a tedious argument
      Of insidious intent
      To lead you to an overwhelming question …
      Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
      Let us go and make our visit.

  5. i am from Iowa. Poor people are part of the charachter of why i left my hamlet. please dont destroy that edge

    1. Its inhumane to allow this kind of behavior in the city. Even if it provides the edgy aesthetic you desire, many SF residents would rather not live in a place that is far below average compared to other major world cities.

        1. Sorry if that’s the case! Guess I’ve lost my sarcasm detector after reading too many pro-vagrant respondents on SS.

          1. This should be easy, since there have been so many, but can you direct us to a few, or perhaps just one, of those pro-vagrancy comments to support your statement above?

      1. its also a major public health issue. this is how the plague and cholera are spread. This may seem out of reality, but it is not. any feces related bacterium or virus could be quickly spread through our communities by the inhumane standards people are living in in our dense city

  6. This is remarkable to me. Grew up here, and 25 years ago, those who felt “safe or very safe” walking around at night in districts 5, 6 or 9 would have been something close to 0%. And probably about 20% would have given those marks even during the day. And only 11% consider “public safety” to be their top concern? Huge improvement.

    Homelessness? Yep, never goes away. But it is nowhere near the problem it was a couple decades ago. Not saying it is not bad, but not nearly as bad.

    1. i think the homeless problem is just as bad if not worse than when i moved here in 1997. Its certainly more in your face now, and has spread across most neighborhoods. I think it was more concentrated and hidden before. At that time, SOMA had so few residens that it was more occupied by homeless. but now its everywhere.

  7. Yeah if you think SF is dangerous now, I highly recommend the book “Season of the Witch” which talks about how SF was when the Zodiac Killer, SLA, and Zebra Killers were active in the 70s.

  8. Well, DUH! Seems like every day there’s a new “swarm attack” by “youth”. There are more homeless people and they are by far more aggressive everywhere. One simply can no longer go into a fast food restaurant and eat something without being panhandled inside the restaurant.

    25 years ago, as someone mentions above, I felt unsafe really in only one area during the day and that was Mid-Market. Add the Tenderloin at night only. Now it’s not only those and a few more neighborhoods but most importantly it’s public transit. Until recently I never felt unsafe on BART or even MUNI (crowded and annoyed, yes but not unsafe). The latest: Attacks on birdwatchers in Golden Gate Park. That’s new.

    1. the area in Golden Gate park near the Haight is no longer visitable. These vagrants need to be expunged

  9. SF seems to have the least visible police force of any major US city. By and large, they are just totally inept.

    I remember when there was a hit and run in SoMa. The license plate on the perp’s car fell off and was left on the street at the accident scene. But SFPD claimed they did not have staff to follow up on the crime. Shameful.

    Can’t wait to earn enought to get out of here.

    1. “Can’t wait to earn enought to get out of here.”

      Yeah, a terrible feeling to be too poor to be able to afford anywhere else and be stuck in San Francisco with its bargain basement cost of living. All those alternatives are so much more expensive. Save your pennies. You’ll get there someday.

      1. actually there are many possible contexts for which that statement makes sense. you might have a high-paying job here that lets you save more money, and once you’ve saved enough you can finally move away even if that means earning less or not working at all.

      2. Huge golden handcuffs are still hancuffs. I know, boo hoo…first world problems.

        As for commuting, my wife and I can currently each get to our offices in 10 minutes. The downside is what this article has been discussing…

    2. not necessarily the fault of police. Homeless and petty crime have been placed as low priorities. If they arrested and prosecuted drug use and public intoxication, then the problem would improve. And would love to see that capture a few frat boys in the process. then give them an option of jail or treatment. most of the crime is committed by drug addicts. The need to be treated, and jailed if they refuse. their rights should not overtake the rights of the 95% of other citizens

  10. I’ve lived here 25 years, and SF has gotten progressive safer. Immensely so.

    If anything, measuring feeling of safety demonstrates that the City is now attracting people who would otherwise be living behind unnecessary gates in zero time areas.

    1. In many parts of the city yes. But Haight and surrounding areas are getting progressively worse in the last year or 2. Area around the main library is not getting better at all as well.

      1. Can’t comment on the last year. But I lived right at the edge of the upper haight and cole valley in the late 90s. Upper Haight today is like Disneyland compared to back then. And the Lower Haight today is awesome whereas it was a notch above totally scary back then (gunshots near Haight and Fillmore were commonplace). You only have to go back about 5 years to see this transformation in parts of Hayes Valley.

        I think that part of the problem is that the current far more well-heeled SF populace has a far lower tolerance for crime/grit than was the case with earlier populations. Not a bad thing, but it means that a far, far nicer environment might “feel” scary and ugly to today’s make-up when it would “feel” like a dream come true to the residents of 20-25 years ago. The prices would not feel that way! And, yes, the homeless still bother everyone.

        1. It might be better than 25 years ago, which I doubt, but speaking as a current resident…Upper Haight has been getting more dangerous over the past few years, not safer. Same with GGP and near my office in Soma.

        2. I think this is right. I’ve lived in different parts of the city for the last 20 years and it definitely does not feel less safe to me. Based on a lot of the comments it feels like people that grew up in the suburbs have moved in and aren’t used to living in an urban environment,

          1. I don’t think SF’s tolerance towards homeless is a normal urban environment.

            I agree some parts of Western Addition and Lower Haight used to be scary and are not anymore. Upper Haight is not doing so well.

          2. Have said this it’s not so much a safety issue for me, more of a quality of life.

        3. i came here in 97, and not from a wealthy area. SOMA is definitely nicer now, but still has many issues. many areas of the city are less safe and certainly have more homeless and more agressive homeless than it did 20 yrs ago. On top of my personal experience, everyone who visits also notices the change for the worse

          1. yeah, Baghdad by the bayfill really trended down and outward starting with the dotcom arrivistes. Oh, well, we can’t expect all those aggressive newbies to leave, after all:

            How ya gonna keep ’em down on the farm
            After they’ve seen Pier 39
            How ya gonna keep ’em away from Broadway
            Jazzin around and paintin’ the town
            How ya gonna keep ’em away from harm, that’s a mystery

  11. i arrived in the late 80’s and watched as the club and rave neighborhoods transitioned into giants stadium and mission bay and higher priced condos.

    those neighborhoods are all safer now than they felt at 3 AM returning to the inevitable broken window after dancing if anything was left in the car; and yet car smash and grabs are way up city wide. in the 90’s it was smart to really look over your shoulder late at night on valencia and mission and 24th. when i worked the ED at SFGH on Halloween it was stab wounds and assaults and cuts and broken bones that i remember more than too much drugs or alcohol. really hard to argue these neighborhoods aren’t safer as well. but perceptions change.

    all that development pushed homelessness, and its problems, into other neighborhoods and more visible times and places. safety is also relative i think. as we age we expect more. and the city is aging as the young can’t afford to be here.

    two years ago over thanksgiving, waking my spouse for a PETscan we encountered a drugged out girl (maybe 20) asleep across our front door (she fled when i asked if she needed help from a homeless hot-team). after the scan we came home to a man eating a turkey carcass out of our neighbor’s trash. in noe valley. i’ve also witnessed a fight over glass collection from my recycling container.

    what was a tail of two cities is now a tale of one city without a place or services or effective rules for too many of its residents.

  12. I’d say more safe – but lower quality of life from poop, pee, and litter everywhere on the east side of town. And a crazy amount of increased theft – from mail packages to broken into cars with zero police response.

    1. I think the SF crime stats do show increase in property crime and decrease in violent crime, esp per capita. Wonder if the value of the property crime has increased or decreased per SF GDP.

      The South Beach/Park area has had a poop/pee problem for a long long time. It is definitely worse than when I moved here 25 years or so ago. And that is definitely do to the dodoings and peepeeings of our increasing population of four legged scruffy scofflaws, ~80% not lawfully registered.

      Though the closure of the clubs in the area did cut down on the drunk bridge and tunnelers’ 2 AM S. Park waterings. If I’d wanted to be so close to unfiltered nature, I’d move to the country or Market St.

      1. Yeah I wonder how we got a C+ on cleanliness. Did they only give the survey to people who have congenital anosmia?

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