San Fran merchants threaten to stop paying taxes, fees if city does not address crimes of homeless population
· Aug 30, 2022 ·

The Castro Merchants Association told San Francisco officials on Tuesday to "take action" against "burglaries and never-ending vandalism/graffiti (often committed by unhoused persons)."

"Our community is struggling to recover from lost business revenue ... and we implore you to take action," the association said.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports on rising crime in the area:

Business owners across the city saw a rise in burglaries and vandalism in 2020 compared with 2019. In the Castro, the merchants association recorded more than 90 incidents totaling over $170,000 in repair costs since 2020, according to data provided by the association, which began documenting incidents during the pandemic. In 2021, there were a total of 25 reported incidents, the data shows. In March of this year, three men were arrested for allegedly burglarizing the historic Castro Theatre.

The group demands the city "designate 35 of the city's shelter beds for the neighborhood's homeless population, create a comprehensive plan on how to offer services to individuals who repeatedly decline help, and provide monthly metrics on how many people in the community have been offered services and shelter," according to The Chronicle.

"If the city can't provide the basic services for them to become a successful business, then what are we paying for?" said association co-president Dave Karraker. "You can't have a vibrant, successful business corridor when you have people passed out high on drugs, littering your sidewalk. These people need to get help."

"Until we see demonstrable change, everything is on the table, including civil disobedience," Karraker said. "We cannot continue with more of the same."

Karraker threatened to tell store owners to stop paying taxes and other city fees if their demands are unmet.

"We greatly appreciate hearing from community members about what they are seeing on the streets and will continue to work with the Castro community to improve conditions for all in the Castro," city officials replied to the association on Tuesday.

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