California has a higher percentage of “unsheltered”—people living outside, in tent encampments, or cars—than other states. And while homeless numbers in San Francisco are not significantly higher than in other major cities, overburdened shelters and a lack of affordable housing in the Bay Area mean that homeless people are more visible in San Francisco than elsewhere.
The intersection of Turk and Taylor streets, in the Tenderloin, is particularly dense with people who live on the street. Be prepared to encounter beggars and transients, many of them struggling with drug addiction or alcoholism.
Nonviolent crime poses a MEDIUM threat to foreign nationals and locals and is primarily concentrated in urban areas. Thieves typically target purses, bags, wallets, smartphones, and other electronic devices. These opportunistic crimes can occur anywhere, but especially in areas frequented by travelers, including at major tourist attractions, on public transportation, and near transportation hubs due to the high ratio of travelers who are generally unfamiliar with the area. Foreign nationals and locals are not typically targeted by criminals due to their perceived wealth; instances are often random. Crimes against foreign nationals and locals are more likely to escalate late at night, or if the victim resists. Criminals often act alone, though some operate in pairs or groups.
Scams pose a LOW threat to foreign nationals, local staff, and businesses in the US. The most prevalent types of scams include identity theft through telemarketing, email/text message, and mail.
Though the overall threat of violent crime in the US is considered LOW, some cities experience a high rate of crime incidents. Violent crimes, including homicide, rape, and assault, are usually linked to organized crime or familial violence, and typically pose the greatest threat in low-income areas of major cities. Criminals in the US sometimes use force if a victim resists; do not resist.
San Francisco’s location along the San Andreas Fault means that the city is, and always will be, prone to earthquakes.
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