Report: More human waste and syringes on San Francisco streets

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San Francisco's streets and sidewalks have less litter and grime but more feces and hypodermic needles.
That's according to a new annual report by the City Controller's Office called the Street & Sidewalk Maintenance Standards Report.

The areas that fared the worst were the Tenderloin and SoMa Districts.

Adam Mesnick, owner of a popular sandwich shop called The Deli Board on Folsom Street, has been an outspoken critic of what he calls unsanitary streets. Almost every day he posts pictures on Twitter of drug users, hypodermic needles and people urinating or defecating.

"I try not to take pictures of the feces but the feces are pretty much every couple steps," said Mesnick. "It's filthy. It's disgusting. Yesterday we taped somebody peeing on the side of my restaurant in broad daylight. I actually have pictures of people shooting up in the street."

Now a new report by the San Francisco Controller's Office shows 311 reports of two biohazards are on the rise; human feces reports are up 39 percent compared to last year, the number of hypodermic needles jumped 41 percent. Last year, there were 2500 reports of stray needles, this year there were 3500.

"We're not quite sure if the actual incidents are on the rise or the REPORTS are," said Rachel Gordon, with the SF Public Works Department. "People are calling 311 more than they have been before with these issues."

"It's gross, it's really gross! It' s a public health risk," said JJ Hanley of San Francisco.

Our crews noticed barricades blocking people from going to the bathroom in stairwells near City Hall. On a grassy patch on City Plaza, drug dealers lined the wall near Grove Street in the mid-afternoon sun. Wads of cash and plastic baggies of pills exchanged hands out in the open. Just steps away, children on a field trip from Alamo Elementary School dangled from monkey bars at the park.

"I said we like to clean up the park when we're done, but please don't pick up anything! We talked about the needles how you don't touch a needle," said Stacey Revitz, a second grade teacher.

She said parents who had volunteered for the field trip were shocked and disgusted that they had to give a lesson to the children on needles and the possible transmission of diseases like HIV.

Citywide counts of needles collected by SF Public Works were also up from 16,000 last year to more than 23,000 this year.

San Francisco's population has grown 8 percent since 2010, putting more stress on city services.

While the city's 16 pit stops receive more than 20,000 flushes a month, each district saw reports of human waste rise by double digits in all but one district

"It's absolute mayhem at this point. It's completely out of control," said Mesnick, who said he is willing to work with city leaders to do what it takes to shine a light on the problem.

"We know that it's a problem and we need to address it more aggressively than we have been," said Gordon. "We've gotten extra crews in this year's budget to put more people on the streets to clean them up."