San Francisco’s Small Businesses Hit Hardest By Crime, Need Help

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

As large companies continue to completely leave San Francisco, many of the city’s small businesses continue to suffer. According to a recent survey of over 800 small businessesconducted by the SF Office of Small Business and SF State University, one-third of small businesses in San Francisco were struck by criminal activities between two to ten times in a year. 

Although shoplifting was a key issue, graffiti, vandalism, and public worries were more prevalent among retailers. Alarmingly, just 70% of victims reported the crimes to law enforcement authorities. 

A business owner in the survey noted, “As a small business owner, I’m broken hearted by San Francisco. Rents are high, we are paying precovid rent and I have lost over 50% of my clients, clients that lived in surrounding areas were scared to come into the city due to crime, homeless(ness), dirty (streets). I think about closing up and moving everyday.”

Concerns for worker safety and business security came up frequently throughout the survey, as did complaints that sidewalks were filthy and smelly. Qualitative responses from business owners noted that the burden of cleaning sidewalks frequently falls to small businesses and their employees. 

Businesses in zip codes representing Mission, Bernal, Civic Center, Hayes Valley, Noe Valley, Castro, Russian Hill, and Nob Hill indicated that foot/bike police patrols would have a high impact.


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