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Surging crime, dirty streets; Local residents say San Francisco's Mission District is in crisis

San Francisco Mission District business owners, residents call for help after a woman is attacked
San Francisco Mission District business owners, residents call for help after a woman is attacked 03:43

By Jose Martinez, KPIX 

SAN FRANCISCO -- Desperate for help! This is how Oscar Gonzalez feels these days. He is the manager of Pancho Villa, a taqueria located on 16th Street in The Mission District, just a few steps from the BART station.

"This can't go on like this. It's just getting worse," Gonzalez said. "There has to be a positive change." 

Local residents have been waiting for that change for decades, he told me, as he works extra hard this Wednesday afternoon, making as much money as possible before he has to close. 

Also Read: San Francisco Mission District groups decry violence after assault of 78-year-old woman

Oscar said the streets near his restaurant are extremely dangerous after 10 pm.

"Closing early helps them a lot. It is less dangerous for the employees here because some girls have to leave alone," Gonzalez said.

Oscar said that the decision was made after an employee was attacked last year while waiting for the bus.

Even patrons like Guadalupe Hernandez are terrified.

"The situation in The Mission is terrible," Hernandez said. "It's sad. I remember 21 years ago when I came to live here, and The Mission was so pretty, but now everything is ugly, sad, dirty." 

We spent some time with Guadalupe and her grandson, talking about those 20 years and the changes she has seen -- more homeless people, drugs everywhere. It's why she left the neiborhood and moved to Daly City.

"We don't feel safe walking around here. Actually, we just park the car, eat and quickly jump into the car and leave," Hernandez said.

That is why community leaders like Roberto Hernandez have declared a state of emergency with a clear message for city leaders.

"We as a community feel that we're been neglected, totally, cause why is it that in Union Square when they began to rob 5k dollars purses Gucci, all of a sudden the City came in and cleaned the streets and got rid of all the elements and brought in security…how can't they do that here. It's pretty simple," Roberto Said.

And Oscar agrees. That's why he told me he will stay there, hoping that this call for help could actually save The Mission.

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