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San Francisco to impose partial curfew in ‘scary’ Tenderloin cleanup effort

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(The Center Square) – Neighborhood business organizations and residents paint an apocalyptic view of the city’s notorious Tenderloin District, a 50-square block area in the downtown.

Many residents feel imprisoned in their own homes “when the sun goes down,” several business organizations wrote the city. They speak of drug sales in the open, rapes, murders and shootings with human waste left in the wake.

“Please visit how bad it is,” another resident pleaded to city officials in an email. “It’s scary.”

The city’s response is to implement a two-year curfew where food markets and tobacco establishments would have to be closed from midnight to 5 a.m. The curfew would not apply to restaurants, bars or other non-retail businesses. Break the curfew and face a $1,000 per hour fine.

Some local businesses are saying if they take a loss in revenue or jobs, they want the city to offer financial mitigation, such as a reduction in fees.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is expected to vote on the measure June 25.

A group of business associations impacted by the curfew sent a letter to the city.

“Gathering and congregating in the proximity of retail businesses selling prepackaged food and tobacco products, fences, users and dealers engage in illegal vending, drug use and drug sales, until the early hours of the morning,” the letter read. “Leaving behind trash, human waste, used needles, and sometimes even bullet casings in their wake, service workers and residents are confronted with threats to their health and safety.”

The Tenderloin district is about 50 square blocks in the downtown area. Police data shows that between midnight and 5 a.m., that area has had two homicides, five non-fatal shootings, 114 assaults, 31 robberies and four rapes in the past year.

Enforcement has not worked to clean up the area. In the first six months of 2022, the police made an average of 44 arrests a week in the Tenderloin District. In one week that year, police confiscated 3,148 grams of fentanyl, which could translate to as much as $224,000 on the street.

Two weeks ago, the San Francisco Police did a one-day sweep of the Tenderloin District focusing on fugitives with warrants. The police finished with 57 arrests with 43 people in custody with warrants. The police confiscated fentanyl, methamphetamine and cocaine.

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