One of the United States’ top tourism cities, the last thing San Francisco needed was a crime wave to scare away its legion of international fans. Following a series of stabbings in the city’s traveller-heavy inner districts, authorities are planning to implement measures designed to keep the city safe at night. The measures will help San Francisco’s lucrative tourism sector and boost home values.
It’s certainly an odd situation in a city regarded as one of the country’s most safe and universally tolerant. Crime in San Francisco has typically been significantly lower than in its surrounding city areas, and even lower than that observed in metropolitan areas in Los Angeles and San Diego. The city’s recent crime ‘wave’ is rather unusual, and it’s beginning to gain a place in the city’s psyche.
The ‘crime wave’ – as local media are calling it – stems from a series of stabbings and vicious fights which occurred within the city centre. San Francisco’s large central city is generally safe throughout the night, with few tourists or locals affected and all-round crime figures low. A stabbing near Coit Tower – one of the city’s tourism hot spots – has set things off, with another attack following it.
City government has already taken steps to address the problems, increasing police officer visibility during the night and encouraging tourists to take care when in unfamiliar areas. While the reported crime wave is taking up newspaper space, it’s something that isn’t that unusual. Given the history of unusual murder in San Francisco, the city may in fact be enjoying a period of relative safety.
For tourists, it’s certainly off-putting. San Francisco remains one of the United States’ most dynamic and interesting tourism destinations, and it’s unlikely to disappear from the map due to a short series of crimes. However, it sits at a relatively difficult junction now – with local authorities wondering if its reputation for tolerance and peacefulness may take a public relations hit.