This San Francisco public pooping map is gross and also fascinating

A group called Open the Books plotted tens of thousands of reported public pooping incidents on a map of San Francisco. The result looks like a cloud of sewage blanketing the city. From Forbes:

Today, San Francisco hosts an estimated homeless population of 7,500 people. Affluent sections of the city have become dangerous with open-air drug use, tens of thousands of discarded needles, and, sadly, human feces.

Since 2011, there have been at least 118,352 reported instances of human fecal matter on city streets.

New mayor, London Breed, won election by promising to clean things up. However, conditions are the same or worse. Last year, the number of reports spiked to an all-time high at 28,084. In first quarter 2019, the pace continued with 6,676 instances of human waste in the public way.

Nearly three-quarters of the reports came from just ten neighborhoods. Of those, three had by far the highest numbers: “1. Tenderloin (30,863); 2. South of Market (23,599); 3. Mission (19,150)”

To really appreciate the map, you have to zoom in and look at it more closely. As you do, you’ll see the problem really is concentrated along Market St. and a few areas while other parts of the city have relatively few reports. You can examine the map here but a screen grab shows the level of detail:

There are suspiciously few reports from public park areas in the city. But of course, this map represents public complaints. So if someone didn’t see poop behind a tree or assumed a dog had left it, they probably didn’t file a report. But I would be willing to bet the parks are filthy. I really doubt that people pooping on the sidewalk and in the gutter are drawing a firm line at the parks.

Anyway, San Francisco clearly has a serious problem. As mentioned above, last year there were more reports than any previous year. Perhaps some of the increase is the result of people becoming more comfortable with the reporting process but surely not all of it.

Cities up and down the west coast are dealing with the same problem. Los Angeles, Portland, and Seattle all have ongoing political tension about how to deal with the problem. For the moment, the push to tolerate open drug use and pooping in the streets seems to still be overpowering the push to expect more of people.

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