One year ago San Francisco was in terrible shape with serious homelessness and crime problems. I revisited the city to see if it’s gotten better or worse over the last year. Join me as we canvas the streets and talk to the locals to get a feel of what’s currently going on in this legendary city.
San Francisco 1 Year Later (Still As Bad?)
♪ Michael Jackson ♪
♪ jazz ♪
♪ jazz ♪
The beautiful Golden Gate Bridge
San Francisco in the distance.
Good afternoon, guys.
About a year ago I made a video
about how far downhill
San Francisco had slid.
My wife and I moved back
and it was very obvious the direction
the city had turned in.
So today, one year later,
we’re gonna do an update video.
Get out there on the streets.
Get a pulse of the city.
See if things are getting better,
if they’re getting worse
or what the story is.
Let’s do this.
♪ jazz ♪
All right, guys.
Here, Downtown Union Square.
Just ran into Jerry
walking down the street.
How’s it going?
Jerry’s got some inside knowledge
and this is new, right?
What you’re doing?
Yes, it’s called Block By Block.
They’ve been here for a couple years but…
This is the famous Louis Vuitton
that was hit.
Yeah, I’d say there’s
an improvement for sure.
From what I’ve seen.
So if you see some weird stuff
happening up here
you’re gonna call the cops?
If I can’t find a way
to deescalate the situation
then I’ll call the police
for further assistance.
So what are you feeling,
like now versus a year ago?
I think it’s improved.
First sign that you can see
is just look how clean the streets are.
For those that don’t know,
the Tenderloin is
the notorious neighborhood downtown
that’s the hardest hitting for sure.
-Jerry, thank you.
How’s it going, guys, down here?
Is it better than a year ago?
It’s very hard to get cops
to speak on camera, understandable.
So you saw it in his face, he’s like,
Jerry says it’s good.
Let’s discover a little more, guys.
and there’s a lotta life back,
I gotta say, versus a year ago.
It was really a ghost town down here.
This is Saturday, February 19th.
So beautiful winter day, about 61 degrees.
So last year at this time,
empty down here.
Last year this time,
there was more plywood
but as you can see
some “For lease”,
some of the retail’s moved out.
Here we got another nice building.
I mean, this downtown was really punished
over the last couple years.
The good is it’s got some energy,
it’s got some vibrancy
and there’s a big parade starting.
I think we’re gonna miss it.
But Chinese New Year.
All right, guys.
Just talked to those cops on the corner
and the story here is
there’s no way to get a cop on camera.
Order comes from high up.
So what they were saying is…
I said, “Is crime… Is it going down?”
“No, it’s not improving so much.”
Pretty much the same as what it was.
Burglaries through the roof.
A lot of just smash and grabs
in cars like this.
but they said
the Downtown area has gotten better
this Union Square area.
Those guys were saying they’re
a lot more hands-off these days
because there’s nothing in it for them
other than a headache.
So for example, he said
“Six years ago, I would’ve intervened
if I saw, sort of a low-level crime.”
“These days, not gonna do it
because it’s big potential headache.”
A viral video.
A write-up from somebody.
Who knows what?
He’s like, “I just sort of let it go
if it’s not a big deal
’cause there’s nothing there for me.”
All right guys,
we’re coming up on Market Street.
This street’s a very interesting street.
It really depends where you’re at.
A lot of tech companies there.
Market street, as you go up here
gets a bit seedier, always has been
I got my first fake ID
at the age of 18 up there.
It was a big day.
But first impressions,
I’m gonna say
it’s looking a little nicer.
[skateboard on cobblestones]
♪ bucket drums ♪
[man on bullhorn]
I was raised Catholic
I don’t know if you were,
were you raised Catholic?
Amen, well you had
a better deal than I did.
I was raised Catholic,
I was told there was purgatory.
That’s a lie.
Heaven or Hell?
By grace through faith,
now you were taught that.
‘Cause you were raised Protestant.
So you know you had
an advantage over many.
We got a band setting up.
That’s what you get in this city.
In 20 steps you can get
three different worlds.
Here we go, we got some music going.
♪ Pretty Young Thing by Michael Jackson ♪
Just with the limited time
here on Market street I’m gonna say
it’s looking better than a year ago.
I wanna be super-honest
with what I see in this video
and I know it’s easier in a video
just to take one side
and double down on it
and feed what people of whatever side
wanna see and hear
but that’s not really my style.
I try to make it not my style.
So here we go,
the famous Powell Street Trolley.
I think these are back in action.
They weren’t a year ago.
Doesn’t look like it though,
there’s no line.
Okay credit where credit’s due.
A lot more of these guys down here
in all my years in the city,
I don’t think I’ve seen it this clean
on the corner of Turk and Market.
How you doing, man?
It seems like more people
are off the streets.
No pipes today.
Got setup by the city?
Okay, so it’s getting…
There’s more control?
You been down here for a while?
Excuse me, sir.
Good man, what’s the story back here?
People can live back here
or they get resources or what is it?
This is a safe sleeping village
is what we call it
and so this one is actually closing down.
We’re in the process of
transitioning these people
to our other safe sleeping village.
Yes, I remember it was…
This whole street
was just lined with tents.
You can’t rent it?
Yeah, because I give him free.
And they come
they don’t sleep.
They go in the city,
they like the city, they go back.
They like the street?
Here’s a water system setup.
-What’s your name, man?
-Nice to meet you, man.
-Martin, you live in the Tenderloin?
Tell us what’s going on.
How is it now versus a year ago?
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Now back to the video.
A year ago it was kind of still fine
but then as things went on,
things started changing, man.
-Like there’s a lot more homeless people.
I’m not seeing them though,
like a year ago this was all tents.
Well they’re kind of like spread out
all over the city, but yeah…
Okay, yeah, that’s what I’ve noticed,
more all over the city.
-You’re in a video now, is that cool?
-Oh yeah, that’s cool, man.
-Martin said, “What’s up?”
-Now I dragged him in, thanks man.
-So how long you lived in the Tenderloin?
-All my life, man.
So how is it now versus other times?
-Worse, worse, worse.
-It’s worse with crime?
When I was little, man…
-It looks cleaner but it’s worse?
Back when I was a kid, man,
there was homeless people
but not how it is right now, man.
Like the mental illness
has gotten worse, man.
That’s everywhere unfortunately
but a lot here.
They come from different parts, man.
It’s basically like a free-for-all.
-You have a family here?
-Yeah, yeah, I do.
It’s a trip.
It really is, man.
-It’s not for everybody, huh?
-Not for everybody, man.
It’s crazy, man.
-You know as…
-Can I walk with you, is that cool?
-Yeah, yeah, it’s good, man, yeah.
Guy’s working on that car over there.
Doing a little maintenance.
A year ago, man, it was like
nobody was on the street.
Nobody was on the street,
everything was all right
and then I noticed…
A year ago? C’mon man,
I saw so many tents a year ago.
Yeah, right here…
There was a lot of tents, you know?
But I’m talking about, like city wise…
-All of San Francisco?
-All seven by seven miles?
Growing up, there was no mental illness
like how it is right now, man.
You could walk to the store bare feet.
That’s how clean the streets were.
Back in the day, like in early 2000’s.
Are these guys using up here you think?
They’re doing their heroin
and stuff like that.
-Can we walk by them?
See this, to me, was a crime
when COVID was…
Was firing off last year,
the playgrounds were closed.
The tents were taking up the streets
and the kids had nowhere to go.
The private schools were happening
and the public were shut down
which I thought to be disgusting.
-It was terrible, huh?
And like all the people saying they’re
helping out the marginalized people
or whatnot were actually
making their lives worse.
What’s going on here, Martin?
Is this normal these days?
Like Anderson Silva said, “It’s normal.”
-What are you listening to, bro?
-You got the mariachi going?
I would have to say
the hotspot is here, man.
-Around this corner.
-Right, right, right.
All this, all Tenderloin… Bad.
-What’s that guys smoking there?
-Just crack, open crack on the streets?
Speak up as a young guy here,
what do you want in this city?
I want to see a change, man,
for the future.
Okay, like what?
No more drug problems.
Really help out the people,
not just give them money
and give them housing.
Really help them
Take ’em to the doctors,
have somebody check up on them constantly.
Yeah, that’s what I’m seeing everywhere.
And what the government’s doing,
they’re doing it backwards.
They’re giving them money,
they’re letting them kill themselves.
More easier job for them basically.
Why is that the strategy you think?
The government doesn’t care,
they don’t care about people.
Got an open barbecue here, that’s nice.
No more hope, man.
I don’t know how to describe it, man but…
But you just said you have hope
for your future.
You want to start a restaurant.
Yeah, I have hope for my future but
for everybody else, man,
like, I don’t know, man.
It’s gonna take time.
It’s gonna take time and effort.
How are the cops respected these days?
Do you want more cops
or less cops patrolling?
Because there’s not that many cops
to patrol, you get me?
I don’t know, man.
It’s hard to say, man.
Like it’s hard to talk about it, you know?
All right guys, we’re gonna go
to a totally different neighborhood.
Gonna try to balance this thing
as much as possible.
I’m from New Jersey.
Walking through Tenderloin
is like a whole other world.
Like I drove through at night time
but it’s just, like, crazy.
You don’t have this in Jersey City?
No, no, no.
Nothing like this?
-I’m guessing you don’t want it either.
♪ jazz ♪
All right guys,
we’re here in Pacific Heights.
Quite a different neighborhood
than the Tenderloin.
You can see the Golden Gate Bridge
way off in the distance.
I think you can see it
these streets don’t seem to have
tents or homelessness issues.
Okay, we have the Lyon Stairs here.
Palace of Fine Arts, beautiful place.
Marine area, Alcatraz is over there,
Golden Gate’s over there.
The bay, lot of sailboats out and about.
So it’s complicated.
You know, one part of all of this is
you have so much going on
(in) a seven by seven square mile city.
So this is reality.
This beautiful park, The Presidio,
a lot of eucalyptus trees.
Just tons of beauty in here.
This is the Presidio Park,
for those that don’t know San Francisco
there are all sorts of
beautiful green spaces within the city.
So it’s interesting,
you’ll never see tents
or homeless in these parks.
I’m sure someone’s gonna
correct me below in the comments.
It’s not legal in the green spaces.
It’s legal on the concrete.
Not telling you what’s right or wrong,
I’m just pointing out an observation.
So we’re gonna cruise over here…
and get over to
one of the places I lived in.
One of my favorite parts of the city,
it’s called Inner Richmond.
Really good Asian presence
which means excellent food
and I always found it to be a very safe,
sort of local neighborhood.
♪ jazz ♪
Okay, I’m back in the neighborhood
where I used to live.
One of the places I used to live
see the apartment right there.
Loved it because the park,
Golden Gate Park
which we’re gonna go to next
is right up there.
The oceans not far away.
Golden Gate Bridge over there.
But here’s an example of…
This is sort of expanding
to other parts of the city.
You saw where we just went through
It’s beautiful, those are the
multi-million dollar homes.
All of those streets looked buff.
Didn’t see any homelessness
on the streets we drove down.
Now this always existed
in different neighborhoods but I’d say
I didn’t see this when I was living here.
So this guy’s set up shop.
Are you living here, man?
This guy’s living here?
Okay, you guys just take this over?
This is full-time or?
Oh okay, what happened to the law office?
It hasn’t been here for a number of years.
Yeah, I used to live right over there.
Okay, quite a harmless guy
but as you can see, taking over
quite a swath of the sidewalk.
There was a guy there before,
actually there was a lady there before
when I lived here but she just had
like a sleeping bag and a few things.
So I wanna show you this, guys.
This is the old Walgreens.
Living over there
and being able to go to the Walgreens
was a nice convenience.
Can’t give you the exact number
that have shutdown in San Francisco
because I’ve heard various reports on that.
I’ve heard up to 20.
I’ve heard six, I don’t know.
All I know is some have shut down
and the main reason that I’ve heard
is because of shoplifting.
You can steal, like I stated
in my other San Francisco video
up to $950 worth of goods.
That’s what a lot of us have seen online.
These theft videos…
With really no punishment.
It’s still illegal,
it’s considered a misdemeanor
but the cops pretty much gave up
on going after people stealing
up to $950
and if they are caught,
the DA’s really not gonna really do much.
So that has led to
a lot of stores shutting down.
That were getting hit quite often.
As you can see here on Clement Street,
there’s quite a lot of activity.
I always loved this street for that.
It’s just a real neighborhood.
A lot of good Asian food.
A lot of Chinese food
but pretty much anything you want.
But overall it’s a good feel.
It’s a much better vibe
than a year ago down here.
[woman speaking Chinese]
And this, historically, has been
quite a safe neighborhood.
It was a lot of Russians in the past.
[woman on phone]
That changed to more Chinese.
It’s the second Chinatown in the city.
The one where not many tourists go.
When I drank, I used to come here
all the time, Richmond Republic.
They have great craft beer.
Lot of fun nights here.
You can see, guys, it’s back.
It’s having a good time.
Yeah, great place.
[chair falls over]
It’s a dog city.
I wanna show off
two businesses for you here.
Green Apple Books,
fantastic local bookstore.
A real gem of a place
and then across the street we have
Started in 1911.
So I would come here for cakes.
Such a great bonus to this neighborhood
as you can pretty much get
any type of fruit you want
They have a lot of fish in there,
pretty much everything.
I’m making a video on San Francisco.
Is it okay if I turn the camera or no?
Okay, so you were saying
you saw them fill up the bags on Goth?
[people chattering and music]
Got the music, the festive spirit.
This is Golden Gate Park,
the most beautiful park I’ve ever seen.
It’s huge, it’s got so much in it.
It’s absolutely beautiful.
[electronic music in the distance]
Dogs are even partying.
He’s almost 19?
How ’bout this guy?
They get along?
13, oh, so cute.
You can see here, guys.
This is, to me,
feels like quite normal life.
People having fun, out and about.
No one’s pitching a tent here
and so the city has many faces right now.
Many different sides.
So you can go in and make a video…
I can go in and make a video…
You know, showing just the Tenderloin
“San Francisco is doing so poorly.”
or I could go into just Golden Gate Park
“Look how amazing this place is,
it’s like paradise.”
The truth falls somewhere in the middle.
[music in the distance]
So they close this main road off here
on the weekends
and everyone just takes it over.
♪ jazz ♪
This is the aftermath,
the last two years.
A lot of these small businesses
Classic restaurant down here,
the Cliff House.
I believe it’s still out of operation.
San Francisco now, versus a year ago.
I gotta say is quite a different city
in a good way.
You know, people are out and about.
There’s way less fear.
It’s getting some of its energy back.
There’s a lot of carnage
like the closed restaurant up there.
A lot of people have lost their businesses
but a lot of the tech people have thrived
and so that’s the division in this city.
You know, the private schools being open
but the public schools being closed
for roughly 18 months
is very symbolic of that division here.
Beautiful ocean beach.
It really is, to me at least
the world’s most beautiful city
in the regards to the fusion of
urban and architecture
and then stunning scenery and nature.
This city really does have it all
and it’s gone through many rebirths
and I feel like that’s
what’s happening right now.
It’s going through another rebirth.
The goal guys, was to show you
two sides of the story here.
There is so much more.
Watch other people’s content.
If you’re really interested in the topic
you gotta put a lot of time
to understand any situation, like anything.
Don’t trust anyone that just
shows you one side of anywhere.
If San Francisco can figure out
its mental health issues
not just put people in hotels
that have mental health issues
allow open drug usage on the streets
and figure out its crime problem
this place is going to be
absolutely amazing again.
So there you go.
I’ll do a recap, year or two down the road.
Thanks for coming along.
See you in the next one.
♪ jazz ♪