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Poll: San Francisco Residents Consider Relocating As Crime Worsens, Quality Of Life In A Decline

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- As San Francisco tries to bounce back from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, crime and homelessness now rank among the highest levels of concerns among local residents, many who are contemplating relocating, according to a new poll.

The poll was released by the SF Chamber of Commerce and based on feedback from more than 500 San Francisco residents who are registered to vote.

It found that more than 40 percent say they plan to move out of the city in the next few years.

Lindsay Stevens just finished moving out over the weekend.

"There's nothing worse than seeing such a beautiful place in such disarray, and I really thought I was going to be sad when the movers loaded up the last container on Saturday, and I have never been more relieved," said Stevens.

After more than 12 years in San Francisco, Stevens recently sold her place and moved to the Palm Springs area.

"I honestly think in the last three years, we've seen a massive decline in the quality of life and that was only enhanced over COVID," she said. "The homelessness has been a severe problem, people are not feeling safe walking their dog... the number of break-ins seem to be constantly on the rise."

Her feelings are reflected in the results of the chamber's poll.

80% of residents say crime has worsened in recent years, 70% feel that quality of life has declined, and 88% say homelessness has worsened.

76% also believe that increasing the number of police officers in high crime neighborhoods should be a high priority.

"I think safety is a huge concern, even two years ago when I initially moved back to the city, I never viewed certain neighborhoods as necessarily unsafe," said Minku Lee of San Francisco.

The 24-year-old resident became a victim himself this past Friday. He said he was headed to happy hour on 3rd Street near Oracle Park with his friends, when he was racially and physically attacked by a homeless man.

"He said a slur too, forcibly pushed me over, slash tripped me, really startled by the incident," said Lee.

An overwhelming 82% of those polled said they'd like to see more caseworkers on the streets to help people with mental illness and substance use problems.

Nearly 75% supported more temporary shelter for homeless people.

Earlier this month, Mayor London Breed announced a $1 billion dollar investment to help fix the problem over the next 2 years. It would include funding housing and mental health services.

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