San Francisco used to be one of the most admired cities in the world, with its stunning bridge and urban lifestyle enjoyed by many.

Yet it is in freefall.

The once great city is fast becoming a haven for criminals who seek to the exploit the weakness of the city’s governors and those who run the city. 692 San Franciscans succumbed to  accidental overdose deaths in 2023 and the local government were forced to set aside $600 million for behavioural health services including beds needed for the homeless. In February 2022, research showed 7,754 homeless individuals, many of whom live in RVs with their family, and without any money to pay rent or afford basic necessities.

Shoplifting has become a prominent crime committed in the city, with many running into stores, loading bags with items and leaving. Per 100,000 people, San Francisco had 658 violent crimes, ranging from homicide, rape and robbery. Many videos have begun circulating online, showing gangs forcing people to give them money at gunpoint.

The city is also facing its own economic crisis with office vacancy rates of 35% being the highest ever recorded by the city in its history and many companies and residents moving away from San Francisco. On a podcast with Joe Rogan, Elon Musk stated that the city’s downtown had fast become like “a zombie apocalypse” as a result of being weak when it came to tackling crime.

However, the mayor of the city, London Breed, has pointed to the arrival of AI companies as something that can benefit the city, bringing more business investment. However, there still remains millions of square feet of vacant space available as a result of the mass exodus away from San Francisco following the COVID-19 Pandemic. The future for San Francisco remains bleak and a situation that is not a short term problem.