One of the most populous cities in California, the world-famous San Francisco has always had the reputation of being one of the most progressive, liberal-minded cities in the USA. Ever since the 1960s, it’s always been associated with hippies, beatniks, and all kinds of other quirky bohemian types. However, due to a specific environmental problem that has emerged over recent years, current-day San Francisco is becoming associated with something much more unpleasant, and it may take a long time for the city’s reputation to recover.
You see, it seems that the city, which has always been popular with tourists, has turned into a dumping ground for rogue poopers – and we’re not talking about dogs here. That’s right – San Fran has a major problem with human poop in the streets, and the problem has got so bad that the city has now been dubbed the “Doo-Doo Capital in the U.S.” This unfortunate nickname wasn’t thought up by someone with an axe to grind against the city, either – it’s backed up by hard scientific data.
You see, the new nickname comes courtesy of the apartment search service RealtyHop, which said the city had the highest amount of complaints about fecal matter on sidewalks versus anywhere else in the country.
Data compiled by the website is pretty thorough. They even provide a colour-coded zonal map, pictured above, which showed an average of 455.89 poop sightings reported per square mile in 2017. That’s a horrendous amount of caca to have deal with day-to-day! RealtyHop didn’t mince their words when describing the epidemic:
“Living in a s—ty neighborhood has a whole new meaning for San Franciscans,” RentHop states on its website. “Unlike what we saw in Chicago and New York, the city center of San Francisco is, sadly, covered by poop, and neighborhoods away from the city center see fewer complaints (except for Golden Gate Park).”
According to their report, the worst neighborhoods in San Francisco for waste complaints from humans and animals were Golden Gate Park, South of Market, and the Tenderloin, but this is a problem that affects the whole city to some degree. It’s not just the rough neighborhoods that suffer, as RealtyHop explain on their website:
“While one would assume that lower-income neighborhoods might experience worse poop issues, that is not the case in San Francisco”
“It seems that the poop crisis in San Francisco is unlike what we see in other cities (where you can just blame it on the cute furry little friends of ours), it reflects more so a social crisis.”
So, where does this poop all come from, if you’ll pardon the wording? Who doesn’t know NOT to do that?! Well, one theory is that the problem is as bad as it is because of San Francisco’s huge homeless population.
San Francisco has comfortable temperatures all through the year, which is one of the reasons why there are so many homeless people living there, along with the area’s high real estate prices. Out of the 7,499 homeless people recorded last year, about 58 percent, or 4,353 people, were marked as unsheltered – obviously, if they don’t have a roof over their head, they don’t have anywhere to poop either.
The problem will also be exacerbated by the city’s stray animals, as well as irresponsible dog owners.
It’s a problem that keeps getting worse, and shows no signs of letting up any time soon. Data compiled by RealtyHop demonstrates that the number of complaints have risen every year from 2011 to 2018, and that the number almost TRIPLED from 2011-2017, going from from 5,606 to 20,899 per year. So far in 2018, there have been more than 16,310 complaints logged, meaning that the eventual figure may well surpass last year.
So, it’s clear that residents are pretty mad about this whole thing. As they should be! So, what exactly are the city’s elected officials going to do about it? Well, earlier this year, the city launched a new pilot program, called the “Poop Patrol,” (settle down, children) which is set to scour specific neighborhoods looking for human waste.
Department of Public Works director Mohammed Nuru said at the time the city will spend about $750,000 to search for and clean up human waste. This may sound like a large figure, but it’s absolute peanuts compared to the city’s annual budget of almost $9 billion, as reported in the San Francisco Chronicle. You’d think that this would be more of a pressing issue for the city’s money men.
“So, what happens is we’re going to take one of those crews out and try to get ahead of those calls and look for these locations so that hopefully we can get less numbers of calls coming in,” Nuru said when asked about the scheme.
I don’t know about you, but I think this guy sounds like he’s full of – never mind.
All jokes aside, this situation is a major health threat to the citizens of San Francisco, which is otherwise a beautiful city. I hope the city’s officials take care of this problem sooner rather than later. After all, they have to live in it too, and they can expect the tourism numbers to drop sharply if this problem continues.