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People are pooping more than ever on the streets of San Francisco

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Progressive Liberalism

May 19, 2019, 1:15:04 AM5/19/19
San Francisco is one of the wealthiest cities in America, with
an annual household income that's nearly double the national
median household income.
As its wealth has increased, so has economic inequality — a
chart of reported incidents of human feces appears to illustrate
that division.
Since 2011, San Francisco has gone from about 5,000 reported
instances to more than 25,000 in 2018.

One of America's wealthiest cities has a huge problem with
public poop.

Between 2011 and 2018, San Francisco experienced a massive
increase in reported incidents of human feces found on public

In 2011, just over 5,500 reports were logged by the San
Francisco Department of Public Works; in 2018, the number
increased to more than 28,000.

The government watchdog Open the Books documented the sharp
increase over time in a stunning chart, first spotted by the
BuzzFeed editor John Paczkowski.

San Francisco human feces chart
Open the Books/City of San Francisco
Notably, this is a chart of only documented reports — the actual
amount of feces on San Francisco's streets is likely even higher
than these statistics suggest.

"I will say there is more feces on the sidewalks than I've ever
seen growing up here," San Francisco Mayor London Breed told NBC
in a 2018 interview. "That is a huge problem, and we are not
just talking about from dogs — we're talking about from humans."

San Francisco has struggled with a feces problem for years. The
city even employs a "Poop Patrol" that attempts to keep the
streets clean and focuses on the Tenderloin neighborhood.

San Francisco Poop Patrol
A "Poop Patrol" employee in San Francisco. Ben Margot/AP
But the problem is bigger than just keeping the streets clean —
the issue appears to be related to the city's struggle to
accommodate its homeless population amid skyrocketing rent
prices and a decreasing supply of affordable housing.

A 2017 survey of San Francisco's homeless population counted
nearly 7,500 people living on the street. That population faces
limited public resources, and public bathrooms are no exception.

Whether the Poop Patrol is able to reverse the trend on San
Francisco's streets remains to be seen, but there's an
indication that the crew is a bandage on a problem much bigger
than dirty streets.

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