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97% of SF restaurants hit by crime, graffiti in past 30 days

By CM Chaney · September 29, 2023

In brief…

  • 97% of San Francisco restaurants have been hit with graffiti or property crime in just the last month.
  • Unchecked vandalism leaves business owners footing the bill for thousands of dollars in repairs.
  • The city Board of Supervisors stopped enforcing graffiti removal during COVID-19. Graffiti vandalism has surged since.
  • The City's grant program will sometimes provide businesses between $1,000-$2,000 to clean up vandalism, but owners say that is not enough.
San Francisco restaurants are being victimized by costly graffiti and property crimes on a sustained basis.  King of Hearts/Wikimedia

A staggering 97% of San Francisco’s restaurants have been hammered with graffiti or property damage in the past month, highlighting the crisis small businesses face in the crime-ridden city, according to a recent survey conducted by the Golden Gate Restaurant Association.

Faced with having to pay thousands of dollars to repair the damage done by vandals, San Francisco restaurant owners have started collaborating on social media on the best ways to clean up graffiti, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Leandro Jayme, owner of Supreme Pizza in the Mission District, told ABC 7 that vandals hit his storefront with acid, forcing him to replace glass at a cost of around $300. Adding insult to injury, if owners don’t promptly clean up vandalism, the city can fine them $500 after 30 days.

Hanson Li, a partner in three restaurants, said running a small business in San Francisco is like “death by a thousand cuts.” He said Lazy Susan, a Chinese eatery, was broken into in late August, just days after its storefront was defaced, and weeks after another of his bars was vandalized.

Rachel Gordon of San Francisco’s Department of Public Works told ABC 7 that graffiti increased significantly after the city’s Board of Supervisors stopped enforcing graffiti removal during COVID-19.

The Department recently launched a pilot program to take down graffiti for free near small businesses in public areas, but so far their on-time response rate has been less than 55%.

San Francisco’s 311 call center received 10,000 complaints about graffiti on buildings and sidewalks over the last six months, the Chronicle reported.

While San Francisco has provided financial assistance to some businesses, owners say the grants, which amount to $1,000 to $2,000, are not nearly enough to address the damage being done by vandals.