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Feds Tell Employees to Work From Home Because of SF Crime Epidemic

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San Francisco is more dangerous than 98% of U.S. cities, calculates Lee Ohanian, an economist at Stanford’s Hoover Institution. (Shutterstock)
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Employees at the 18-story federal building in San Francisco bearing the name of former Speaker Nancy Pelosi have been told to work from home because of out-of-control crime.

The building is on the corner of Mission and 7th streets, and the area is notorious for open-air drug deals.

The federal government spent $3 million to improve the building’s exterior security. The improvements included a galvanized steel fence to keep the plaza free of drug users and homeless people.

Thus far, nothing appears to be making the area safer.

“We’re not solving anything if we’re not solving police staffing,” San Francisco County Supervisor Matt Dorsey told ABC7.

Dorsey, who lives in the neighborhood, also said that there were safety concerns at a daycare center used by federal employees.

“They shared with me that they are doing everything they can to hire people to do childcare work and among 18-19 applications, a large majority of them decided they had no interest in working there once they found out where the location was,” Dorsey said.

Earlier this month, the Department of Health and Human Services advised hundreds of workers in San Francisco to work remotely due to crime concerns.

“In light of the conditions at the (Federal Building) we recommend employees … maximize the use of telework for the foreseeable future,” an HHS official said in a memo to regional leaders.

Employees at the Speaker Nancy Pelosi Federal Building in downtown San Francisco have been told to work from home because of rampant crime. (Wikipedia)

Retailers Abandon Downtown SF

Citing spiraling crime, Nordstrom and Whole Foods have closed their downtown locations. The Whole Foods closure came in April after the shocking murder of tech executive Bob Lee in downtown San Francisco.

In addition, The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the Westfield Mall, which once housed more than 70 top-tier retailers, including Nordstrom, was turning the keys back to lenders after defaulting on a $558 million loan. Westfield Mall’s leaders pointed to the challenges of operating in downtown San Francisco and a huge drop in customers.

More Dangerous Than 98% of US Cities

Some San Francisco officials have pushed back on the narrative of a city plagued by crime.

However, Lee Ohanian, an economist at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, calculated that San Franciscans face about a 1-in-16 chance annually of being a victim of property or violent crime. Those odds make San Francisco more dangerous than 98% percent of U.S. cities.

And, National Review pointed out in May that “San Francisco lost 7.5% of its population between April 2020 and July 2022, a rate of decline unprecedented among major U.S. cities, including Detroit in its worst days.”

Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email

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