Gentrification And Crime, Techies And Drug Users: ‘Crackhead Cam’ Captures Transition Of San Francisco Mid-Market

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5 / KBCW NIGHTBEAT) – San Francisco’s Mid-Market neighborhood is undergoing a transition. While it has a burgeoning nightlife, a blogger’s webcam called the “Crackhead Cam” shows not all of it is pretty.

On a recent Friday, groups of young hipsters are out clubbing at one of three new bars here. Meanwhile, the blogger at has a camera pointed at a nearby alley.

He calls these folks “crackheads of the day,” as many of them appear to be smoking something.

Two weeks ago, the tech company Zendesk had a moving in party here, that spilled out into the back alley. Hours later, in that very same spot on Stevenson Street, a woman with a syringe was seen shooting something into her arm.

This is the strange dichotomy of the two block stretch of Sixth Street south of Market. Drugs, robbery and even homicides have plagued this area for years. But it’s also in the heart of Mid-Market; an area the city is spending millions of taxpayer dollars drawing in tech companies in a desperate attempt to revitalize the area.

Along Market Street, tech companies have moved in, gentrifying that area. One block away at Sixth and Mission Streets, two murders took place near the Henry Hotel on Tuesday.

There is a police storefront that has been in the area for a year. Some neighbors believe it’s making a difference, but the doors close at 9 p.m. Tuesday’s shootings took place at 5 a.m. and 11 p.m.

San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim, whose district includes SoMa, told KPIX 5 that she is comfortable with the current hours of the police storefront, but would like to see more cops on the street during the evening hours when the area is most active.

“This has been an ongoing conversation,” Kim said.  “I do believe SFPD has made a difference on 6th Street, particularly during daytime hours.  We continue to have a conversation about what their presence at night looks like so that we continue to have police there 24 hours a day.”

Tuesday’s shootings happened two blocks away from the Intercontinental Hotel, where President Barack Obama was staying for his Bay Area fundraising visit. But it might as well be miles away, as the area by the convention center has no crime to speak of.

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