SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — By now, most San Franciscans have probably heard Mayor London Breed’s pledge to crack down on crime in the city. In a fiery speech Tuesday she said the city must put an end to rampant burglaries, for one.
She is also promising to stop the open-air drug dealing that has plagued the Tenderloin.READ MORE: Fans Rally Behind Road Warrior San Francisco 49ers; Will Tickets Be Available For NFC Championship Game?
“Just imagine if you had to walk your kid with people shooting up, selling drugs,” Mayor Breed said Tuesday. “Because the sidewalks are so packed with people, you have to walk out into the street.”
Breed is promising an end to drug dealing and drug use on these sidewalks, something the city has been trying to do, at least on specific blocks, over the past few months now.
“As I walked on this block, I saw that there was no one, no tents, no drug dealers. It was just empty,” said Rhonda Scott of her block of Hyde Street. “And I think one of things that has helped is these guys right here, Urban Alchemy.”
Walk just two blocks to the north, however, and the problem explodes. This, in the neighborhood that is home to the city’s densest concentration of children.READ MORE: Hazardous Sneaker Waves Threaten San Francisco Beachcombers
“I know there will be people who say it’s unreasonable to close this down, but they don’t live there,” says Keith Humphreys of Stanford University. “For those of us who don’t live there, I think we have to have compassion for those who do.”
Humphreys is a psychologist and addiction researcher at Stanford. While difficult, he says open air drug markets can be solved.
“European cities, like Lisbon, like Amsterdam, like Zürich, had these kinds of problems and they have been able to close these things down through a mixture of enforcement against sellers,” Humphreys explains. “And low threshold services for people who use drugs and are addicted. So you make it as easy as possible to engage them with services as you can.”
That is what the mayor is promising; A crackdown on dealers, and a centralized location where addicts will be taken to get help.MORE NEWS: Film Fans Tell New Castro Theatre Managers To Keep It Reel
“A new temporary linkage site where people can start treatment, meeting people where they are, being the compassionate city that we are,” Breed said. “But not tolerating the mess that we’ve had to tolerate.”