In San Francisco’s Tenderloin area, the city’s incoming police chief was shocked to see open drug dealing, reports the Associated Press. In the swank Union Square shopping area, Sacramento’s mayor had his luggage stolen from outside a hotel. In the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, residents and storekeepers complaining about overbearing transients blocking pedestrians and panhandling with their pit bulls by their sides. The city is grappling with quality-of-life crimes.
Last year, the city’s overall crime rate was the lowest in decades, with homicides down more than 50 percent. But a groundswell of gripes about “nuisance crimes” has made combatting them a priority for Police Chief George Gascon since he arrived last summer. The chief has proposed a citywide “sit-lie” ordinance that would give police the authority to move and cite those who block sidewalks or otherwise intimidate pedestrians. “There are a substantial number of people who want to see this happen. They’re very frustrated,” Gascon said. “It’s beyond the tipping point. The anger is very real. I’m hoping we can come up with a powerful policy that makes sense for everybody.”