SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Mayor London Breed declared a local state of emergency in San Francisco’s crime-ridden Tenderloin District Friday, allowing the city officials to waive certain laws to quickly address a rising tide of deadly fentanyl overdoses.

The proclamation was an enhancement of the emergency intervention Breed rolled out earlier this week that would deploy additional police officers to the 50-square block neighborhood to target surging gun violence and open-air drug dealing.

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The state of emergency now will bring in additional health care services. Breed made the announcement of the state of emergency during a press conference Friday.

Raw Video: San Francisco Mayor London Breed Announces State of Emergency in Tenderloin District

“The situation in the Tenderloin is an emergency and it calls for an emergency response,” Breed said. “We showed during COVID that when we’re able to use an Emergency Declaration to cut through the bureaucracy and barriers that get in the way of decisive action, we can get things done and make real, tangible progress.”

“We will use that focus and coordination to disrupt the illegal activity in the neighborhood, to get people the treatment and support they need, and to make the Tenderloin a safer, more livable place for the families and children who call the neighborhood home.”

The state of emergency must be ratified by the Board of Supervisors within the next seven days and will exist for no longer than 90 days.

Fentanyl overdoses and deaths have reached an alarming level in the city. Much of the trafficking of the drug can be traced to the Tenderloin and a pipeline supplying brazen street dealers in the district from outside the city.

“We are losing over two people a day to drug overdoses, mostly to fentanyl, and mostly in the Tenderloin and SoMa,” said Supervisor Matt Haney. “This is a public health emergency demanding a crisis level response, with massive urgency, coordination, and determination to confront this epidemic.”

“We’ve demonstrated during the pandemic that our city can step up with solutions to match the scale and threat of a
deadly epidemic,” Haney continued. “We need an emergency response for drug overdoses, with immediate rapid crisis intervention, outreach and coordination on our streets, with expanded treatment and detox.”

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Breed’s anger and frustration over a crime surge in the city, particularly the Tenderloin, was on full display at another news conference earlier this week.

“It’s time the reign of criminals who are destroying our city, it is time for it to come to an end,” she said. “And it comes to an end when we take the steps to more aggressive with law enforcement. More aggressive with the changes in our policies and less tolerate of all the bullshit that has destroyed our city.”


RAW VIDEO: Mayor Breed Announces Aggressive Crime Crackdown

On Tuesday afternoon, the SFPD’s Tenderloin Station Twitter account posted information on police activity in the neighborhood over just the past week, including the seizure of nearly a kilo of drugs — more than half of which (over 600 grams) was fentanyl — and the arrests of 17 suspected drug dealers.

Of those alleged dealers, 14 had previous arrests in San Francisco.

The Tenderloin crackdown was just one of four crime fighting initiatives Breed announced at a news conference that afternoon.

The other three were:

  • Securing emergency police funding for needed resources
  • Amending our surveillance ordinance so law enforcement can interrupt crime in real time
  • Disrupting the illegal street sales of stolen goods.

“In recent months we’ve not only seen a number of high-profile incidents of brazen robberies and car break-ins but also street behavior and criminal activity especially in the Tenderloin that has become far too normal and cannot continue to be tolerated,” Breed said.

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“All of our residents, our workers and everyone who visits our city should feel safe no matter what part of town they are in. I know San Francisco is a compassionate city,” Breed continued. “We are a city that prides ourselves on second chances and rehabilitation. But we’re not a city where anything goes. Our compassion should not be mistaken for weakness or indifference.”