Photo edit of crime, drug and homeless epidemic in San Francisco. Credit: Alexander J. Williams III/Popacta.
Photo edit of crime, drug and homeless epidemic in San Francisco. Credit: Alexander J. Williams III/Popacta.

San Francisco has become the epicenter of the US drug, homeless, and crime crisis in America. The surge in accidental drug overdoses has already claimed the lives of 131 people in just the first two months of 2023. Tom Wolf, a former homeless recovering heroin addict and founder of the Pacific Alliance for Prevention and Recovery, has labeled San Francisco the “epicenter” of the crisis, pointing to organized crime as a major factor. With around 500 organized drug dealers openly selling drugs on the city’s streets, the situation is dire. Additionally, the shortage of police officers in the city has further exacerbated the issue. Without significant intervention, the number of overdose deaths in the city is likely to continue to rise, putting more lives at risk.

The situation is exacerbated by a shortage of police officers in the city, likely in part due to the “Defund The Police” movement, with many veteran officers leaving the force and very limited numbers of new recruits showing interest in joining. San Francisco is currently down 500 police officers, and $28 million in funding was taken away from the police two years ago. This has resulted in a lack of resources to combat the organized drug dealing that is killing the city.

Wolf argues that the police department shortages in San Francisco have made the situation worse, with little incentive for new officers to join and veteran officers leaving the force in droves.

“Unfortunately for San Francisco, we’ve become the epicenter of the overdose crisis in the United States,”

“And we have about 500 of them right now operating in San Francisco in broad daylight, right on the street for everyone to see, and we just don’t have enough resources to stop them.”

“We’re down 500 police officers in our city,”

“We took $28 million of funding away from the police two years ago. Nobody wants to come to the city to become a cop. People are retiring and leaving from the police force. So, yeah, we’re really under the gun.”

“We just don’t have the resources to combat this cartel-fueled, organized drug dealing that’s really killing our city right now,”

The situation is compounded by the fact that many of the officers who have been hired are unqualified or undocumented, according to a recent audit of state records. Wolf is calling on city and federal officials to take more action to combat the crisis, which he says is both a matter of public health and criminal justice.

While drug abuse rates in San Francisco are rising, so are crime rates. On Monday, a video went viral throughout social media showing multiple fights involving students have been taking place at San Francisco’s Stonestown Galleria shopping center, with the latest incidents captured on cellphone video. Witnesses reported a “beat-down” in the Target store where a group of an estimated nearly 100 students assaulted a victim.

Later, another attack broke out in the food court, leaving two victims injured. It’s unclear if the same group of students were involved. Mall workers say that fights have become commonplace, particularly on Wednesdays and Fridays. The San Francisco Unified School District is aware of the attacks, and officials from Stonestown Galleria and Target stores are enhancing their security measures.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle:

San Francisco’s crime is beginning to return to where it was pre-pandemic. After falling in 2020 and 2021, reported robberies, rapes and assaults are rising again in 2022, while burglaries and homicides are doing the reverse. The total number of reported crimes are up by 7.2% from this time last year, mostly driven by an increase in larceny thefts, the most common type of reported crime.

Overall, it appears crime in post-pandemic San Francisco will look similar to before the pandemic — i.e., very different from most other major cities.”

“Quarterly changes to reported crimes since January-March 2018
Data is current as of Sept. 29, 2022.” Source: SFPD Incident reports/

Fentanyl is one of the key drugs involved in the San Francisco drug crisis, with the DEA estimating that just 2.2 pounds of the drug represents half a million lethal doses. The drug is often cut with other substances, making it even more dangerous for users who may not know what they are ingesting. Critics have blamed the border crisis for contributing to the surge in drug deaths in recent years, with more than 800 pounds of fentanyl seized between ports of entry this fiscal year alone.

San Francisco has a significant homeless population, with thousands of people living on the streets. The issue has been exacerbated by a lack of affordable housing and mental health and substance abuse problems.

The situation in San Francisco is dire, with Wolf and others warning that officials need to step in to take down the organized drug dealers who are fueling the crisis. Without significant intervention, the number of overdose deaths in the city is likely to continue to rise, putting more lives at risk.


  1. Good! You get what you deserve……I hope the whole mess falls down right on top of Piglosi’s head. Elections have consequences! BTW, I want my 5 million in reparations…………

  2. Well, neither I nor anyone I know lives in SF. However, I have been there a few times back in the 1990’s. It was a disgusting pig sty then. And citizens seemed to wear it like a badge of honor. I didn’t understand it then, and don’t understand it now. Sadly, some of our finest and most respected financial institutions are based there. And no one is doing anything to correct the problems. If anything, all of those that could do something are just pouring gas on the fire. I just don’t get it.

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