San Francisco activist says, ‘we’re not going to move, we’re fighting,’ as drugs and crime consume Bay Area

Former Republican candidate for San Francisco mayor tours Tenderloin District with Fox News

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San Francisco’s population plummeted by more than 100,000 residents from 2020 to 2021, but despite spiraling drug and crime crises, one Bay Area resident says he will stay and fight to save his city.

"I’ve been here 20 something years … I would not leave. We are fighting for this city," said Richie Greenberg, a former Republican candidate for San Francisco mayor. "We’re not going to move, we’re fighting."

Greenberg spoke to Fox Digital while walking through the streets of San Francisco’s Tenderloin district, a neighborhood notorious for open drug use and crime.

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"They come through on a regular basis to ensure that it’s sanitary … They try and remove the tents if possible, and any garbage, needles," he said.

Open drug use seen on the streets in San Francisco's Tenderloin District.

Open drug use seen on the streets in San Francisco's Tenderloin District. (Fox Digital)

According to Greenberg, when there is a special event near City Hall, a few blocks from the Tenderloin, there is always a push to clean up.

"They don’t want the embarrassment," said Greenberg, who is also a spokesman for the Recall Chesa Boudin Committee.

Boudin faces a recall vote on June 7.

"A lot of the support that we are getting are from those who are victims. The most common is either - their home has been broken into, or their car has been broken into," said Greenberg.  

People for and against embattled District Attorney, Chesa Boudin, who took office in January 2020, point to crime statistics to state their case. 

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According to numbers provided by the SFPD, both property and violent crime are down from 2019. 

Greenberg told Fox News, however, he thinks the DA’s supporters cherry-pick stats.

"They will show the reports of those that are actually down, and ignore arson, carjacking and things like that," said Greenberg.

The SFPD reported that arson is down 21.9% from this time last year, but motor vehicle theft is up 5.6% in that same time period across the city. 

According to the SFPD, property crime in general is up 10.4% in San Francisco from this point last year. In the Tenderloin, drivers now leave signs inside their vehicles notifying would be burglars there is nothing of value inside. 

Sign inside vehicle parked in San Francisco's Tenderloin district.

Sign inside vehicle parked in San Francisco's Tenderloin district. (Fox Digital)

The San Francisco Chronicle reported in January that shootings jumped 33% from 2020 to last year.

"The police department themselves are understaffed and over worked, so they are out trying to figure out which crimes they need to answer more urgently than others," said Greenberg. 

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During her "State of the City" speech on March 9, SF Mayor London Breed acknowledged the progressive city had been plagued by rampant vandalism, car and home break-ins, drug use and gun violence. 

"Too many people across the city, don’t feel safe," Breed admitted. Yet, she went on to downplay crime as "noise" from "right wing media" outlets.

"You know, there’s a lot of noise about what’s happening in our city. You see it in the headlines, often in the right-wing media. They love to talk about San Francisco, don't they? You see it on social media. You see one video take off as if it's telling the whole truth about who we are. I know it’s challenging with all that noise to really understand what’s happening," the mayor said.

Chesa Boudin speaks to reporters before his swearing-in ceremony in San Francisco on Jan. 8, 2020.

Chesa Boudin speaks to reporters before his swearing-in ceremony in San Francisco on Jan. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

The "noise" may be keeping tourists away. Tourism was up 25% in 2021 from 2020, but down 44% from a record high in 2019, according to San Francisco Travel.

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"The most difficult thing is our city’s leadership," said Greenberg. "The elected leaders and who they appoint to these different departments, they’re all a mess," he added.

Stand With Chesa, a group funded by San Franciscans Against the Recall of Chesa Boudin, denied a request by Fox News for an interview with Boudin.