San Francisco

Discovery of Needles and Human Feces Rise in San Francisco, Amount of Trash Decreases: Report

Reports of public safety hazards, such as human feces and needles, are on the rise in San Francisco, according to the city's Office of the Controller.

The number of reported hypodermic needles and syringes found across the city by the bay totaled 3,551 in the 2015-16 fiscal year, marking a 41 percent jump when compared to the previous year. Hot spots for reported needles were located in the South of Market, Civic Center and Tenderloin districts, according to San Francisco's "Street & Sidewalk Maintenance Standards" yearly report.

San Francisco's Office of the Controller
Reports of needles and syringes in San Francisco jumped 41 percent during the 2015-16 fiscal year.

As for human waste, the city witnessed a 39 percent increase in the number of feces service requests from 11,058 reports last year to 15,332 this go around. The highest concentration of human waste was primarily found in the same neighborhoods where hypodermic needles were discovered, according to the report.

"I definitely smell urine and fecal matter, and it's not dog fecal matter," neighbor Diana Kithai said.

The city's Department of Public Works is looking for solutions and hiring additional cleanup crews.

"We are seeing concentrated areas of needles and feces in San Francisco not in surprising areas where we're seeing encampments as well," said Rachel Gordon, spokeswoman for the Department of Public Works.

San Francisco's Office of the Controller
Reports of human waste in San Francisco jumped 39 percent during the 2015-16 fiscal year.

The department also is providing more places for people to go at staffed pit stop public toilets.

"We're up to 16 locations in eight neighborhoods in the city," Gordon said. "That's 20,000 flushes a month."

Kithai hopes the city can get a handle on the mess. She said it's a health and safety issue that has her family thinking about moving.

"We're 50-50 still," she said. "It's an important issue. Yes, we're having a baby soon, and we want to be in a safe neighborhood."

Aside from the surge in human waste and needle discoveries, San Francisco reported up and down numbers when it came to other hazards and damage.

San Francisco's Office of the Controller
Reports of graffiti in San Francisco jumped 21 percent during the 2015-16 fiscal year.

Reports of graffiti rose in almost every neighborhood while illegal dumping witnessed a mix bag of results.

Residential areas were more cluttered with unwanted items in 2015-16, but commercial regions experienced a decline in dumped articles, according to the report.

San Francisco's Office of the Controller
Reports of illegal dumping in San Francisco experienced a mixed bag of results during the 2015-16 fiscal year.

Broken glass also varied depending on the neighborhood, but reported shards skyrocketed during the late spring and early summer months most likely because of increased media attention centered around "smash-and-grab" crimes pertaining to cars and businesses, the report said.

San Francisco's Office of the Controller
Reports of broken glass in San Francisco jumped 24 percent during the 2015-16 fiscal year.

On the plus side, the amount of trash and grime littering San Francisco streets dropped, according to the report.

It is important to note that San Francisco's population has risen almost eight percent since the turn of the decade. That growth has placed added stress on public works crews to keep the city clean and safe, the report said.

NBC Bay Area's Jean Elle contributed to this report.

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