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San Francisco on the brink as residents face crime spike

SAN FRANCISCO (NewsNation) — San Francisco residents say they are reaching their breaking points as rising crime and the high cost of living plague the city.

Many residents have told NewsNation that they are faced with the decision to stay in the city that they love or move away to seek a better life elsewhere.

Following the fatal stabbing of mobile payment service Cash App founder Bob Lee, a greater question emerges: Who wants to live in San Francisco anymore?

Lee, 43, was fatally stabbed in the city early Tuesday morning. No arrests have been made and no description of a suspect has been released, NewsNation local affiliate KRON reported.

“It makes me confused. It’s like why are we doing this in SF?” Junior Habish said.

Habish manages a local grocery store that he said has been burglarized and looted in the past. He also said that often homeless men and women harass his customers and neighbors.

“It’s becoming really sad, honestly,” Habish said.

Jesus Vera was stabbed on the street last year while trying to break up a fight. He said he was able to find a police station just in time for officers to save his life.

“That’s where they opened me up to sew my lung up and put a hose to pump blood out,” Vera said.

He told NewsNation that he would definitely leave San Francisco if he had the choice.

“That’s my plan, you know, I’m tired of it. It has nothing of substance for me anymore,” Vera said.

But rising crime rates are only one factor the city grapples with.

Many workers remain primarily remote, forcing record-high vacancy rates in office buildings. The lack of need for office spaces has been leading to economic downfalls for downtown businesses that thrive on street traffic. This, in turn, has been leading more locals to abandon the city for the greener pastures of the suburbs.

Economic experts called it a “doom loop,” where one negative development spurs another.

“Crime is high. It’s just beyond expensive to live here when you don’t have to be here. Like if your office is not down the street, why would you buy a $2 million condo? It doesn’t make sense,” Habish said.

Even still, no major companies have completely abandoned the Bay Area. The availability of office space could attract new businesses that have never been able to break into the market.

But overall, the sense is that if San Francisco city leaders don’t work to revamp the quality of life for locals, one of California’s most beloved cities could be in peril.

U.S. Census data shows 7% of locals left the city during the pandemic. But keep in mind the bigger picture: This is a pattern that has been happening in many major metropolitan cities across the entire country.

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