The terrifying reality of life on San Francisco’s drug-ravaged streets has been laid bare by one life-long resident who filmed her walk to work through scenes that have made the city an international symbol for squalor and despair.
Tiktoker ‘Freqmeek’ captured the pre-dawn horror as she gingerly picked her way through dozens of desperate addicts in the city’s Tenderloin district.
Some are hunched against the cold while others are too intoxicated to care as cars and buses try to steer a path through unconscious addicts sprawled across the road for hundreds of yards.
‘The anxiety we experience just traveling to work daily in the Tenderloin is unbelievable,’ she wrote.
‘There are so many concerns and protections in place for drug users and homeless people but what about the working class that have to pray that they make it to and from work in this environment.
Residents have to pick their way through streets full of unconscious and semi-conscious people in the Tenderloin district of the city
At one point a man with a hoodie seemingly burnt off his back steps in front of the TikToker as other ghostly figures loom up out of the darkness
‘These are real dangers faced every single day just to be able to provide for your family.’
The Tenderloin district is in the heart of San Francisco and near the Asian Art museum. It’s just a few blocks from City Hall. The area also includes part of the Compton Transgender Cultural District.
Robberies are up 14 percent so far this year in the Golden Gate City where mayor London Breed last month demanded cuts of 18 percent from next year’s police budget.
Reported deaths from drug overdoses reached 620 in the first nine months of the year, according to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, up from 540 for the same period in 2020.
And the city stands to lose $200 million a year in revenue through its business exodus – which has seen major hotels and retailers flee the city center.
Retail stalwart Old Navy announced it would be shuttering its flagship store in the area last month, becoming the latest chain to exit the city.
Nordstrom also announced it would be closing all of its locations in the city.
In April, Whole Foods announced it was closing all their locations, with Anthropologie and Office Depot having also made the same decisions leading some analysts to predict that the city has entered a ‘doom-loop’ of permanent decline.
Last week the city was widely mocked by Chinese media as it prepares to host its President Xi Jinpingat the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.
US Chinese Radio used the headline ‘Ghost town San Francisco to have major blood exchange as APEC will bring the safest week in history to the city.’
Many are hunched over in the characteristic aspect of the fentanyl user
Many sprawl into the road leaving themselves and drivers at risk of a collision
A DailyMail.com analysis of cuts faced by key departments in San Francisco reveals the police department must find savings of $18.5 million and public health budgets could lose $26 million
The city’s drugs crisis saw 620 reported overdose deaths in the first nine months of the year
‘Now it has become a Mecca of crime, the streets are in disarray, and it is rapidly slipping towards the status of a ghost town,’ Chinese media gloated
A map reveals the major businesses which have left, or plan to leave, San Francisco in recent months
Other headlines include the phrases ‘garbage city, ‘ruined city’ and ‘fallen city’, as crippling drug issues and widespread homeless problems continue to cause problems for the city.
Another headline from the Chinese site Phoenix also said the city had fallen into a ‘death cycle.’
One article also states: ‘San Francisco was once a jewel on the West Coast of the United States, but as the Democrats advanced their radical agenda.
‘Now it has become a Mecca of crime, the streets are in disarray, and it is rapidly slipping towards the status of a ghost town.’
On Saturday, Britain’s Home Secretary Suella Braverman held up the city as an example of what could happen in the UK as she outlined plans to prevent charities handing tents to homeless people.
‘Unless we step in now to stop this, British cities will go the way of places in the US like San Francisco and Los Angeles, where weak policies have led to an explosion of crime, drug taking, and squalor,’ she wrote.
The city’s US attorney Ismail Ramsey announced a multi-agency ‘All Hand on Deck’ project on Thursday to tackle drug dealing in Tenderloin, admitting it had become ‘ground zero for drug tourism’.
He revealed that 50 kilograms of fentanyl have been seized from the district’s streets in the last four months, nearly double the amount in the same period last year and enough to create 20 million lethal overdoses.
‘Our drug crisis has been fueled in part because selling fentanyl has become a lucrative vocation for people who have found our neighborhoods, and principally the Tenderloin District, to be a convenient and risk-free marketplace,’ he said.
It is a reality all too apparent to residents who have to live and work in the city.
Drug addicts and the homeless congregate in the Tenderloin District of the California city
Earlier this year a homeless woman was pictured giving birth on a sidewalk in Tenderloin as pedestrians wandered past.
The baby lay on the sidewalk, crying, covered in the mess of its birth until its mother reached out to scoop it up with a piece of fabric.
‘This is overwhelming and mentally draining,’ wrote the TikToker.
‘Not to mention the dangers of the unpredictable nature of this environment.
‘The tenderloin was rough but it was never like this, never, and I was born and raised here so this is not the same scene pre-pandemic.
‘Imagine the children and senior population having to navigate this, it’s definitely terrifying.’