Recently, I came across some graffiti written near an alley in the Mission. It boldly stated that there were thieves in the area. It was a hand printed sign on a piece of paper. It was obvious that there had been other signs like that in the same place for months.
Of course, there were plenty of reasons to stay out of the area after dark. Here in the daylight, however, it seemed silly and out of place. The real tragedy, I think, is that this is what people think when they come to the Mission District. They look at the sign and immediately know they are in the wrong part of town.
Naturally, some corners, like this one, are particularly notorious. The thievery problem was so bad that even common citizens felt like it was worth warnings someone. No doubt, the person posting it felt they were just helping out strangers. Maybe they were tired of hearing shouting and the sounds of people getting robbed outside their window at night when they were trying to sleep?
That really made me feel sad to realize that violence was the general and common condition that everyone acknowledged about the neighborhood. Plenty of people probably walked by that sign and it ruined their whole day. Finally, it’s outrageous on a philosophical level that so many people live in a place that has such an overwhelming amount of crime that it becomes subconscious.
In the meantime, if you want to do something about the needless robberies in the neighborhood, consider joining the city’s SF Safe program.