Changing home town

I remember back in March 2013, I came back to San Francisco for two weeks to spend time with my parents and Ed. I worked part of the time and also took off about four days. One day, for whatever reason, I had to stay late at the office in the financial district, and I didn’t get back to the Richmond until around 7:30pm. My mom and Ed panicked, and they insisted that they “pick me up” from the bus stop at 20th and Geary. I thought that they were both being ridiculous, but I figured I couldn’t stop them.

I remember my brother calling for updates to see where I was along the 38L line so that they’d know when to start walking down the block. When I got off the bus, they were both waiting for me at the bus stop across the street, and as soon as I approached them, Ed insisted that I shouldn’t be so trusting of taking the bus so late at night, and that there were lots of crazy people in San Francisco now. It wasn’t as safe as I remembered it, he said. “Don’t pull out your iPhone on the bus,” he warned. “You don’t know who’s going to just snatch it from you!” He also admonished me to stay away from the back of the bus and to stay closer to the front and middle as much as possible.

I thought about this tonight when I took the bus home, and after I spoke with a colleague who has lived in San Francisco for over 17 years now. He relocated here from New England, where he is originally from, and he was telling me that there’s about a murder every week in San Francisco now. “It’s unfortunately not getting safer here, Yvonne,” my colleague said to me as we walked out of the office together with his almost 2-year-old boy. “There’s more people living in this city than ever before, and the police force just isn’t keeping up with the increase. There are more crimes and murders here than as long as I can remember it.”

Having this conversation with my colleague made me wish I didn’t brush Ed off as much as I did when he was warning me about the diminishing safety of our home town. Maybe he wasn’t being as ridiculous as I thought, especially now as I walk the streets of this city and wonder why every time I come home, the homeless and druggie situation seems to be worse than the last time I came.

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