Despite efforts by local officials to whittle down homeless encampments in San Francisco, the city is still plagued by streets littered with human feces, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Between July 1 and July 25, the city's 311 service fielded 1,948 calls — roughly 78 per day — reporting human waste on sidewalks and roadways, the Chronicle reported.
That's nasty. What's going on?
Following former Mayor Mark Farrell's recent crackdown, efforts to clean up public spaces have shown some signs of progress. In the latest count last month, San Francisco's Department of Homelessness and Supportive Services said the city had around 570 vagrant camp sights, compared to 1,200 two years ago.
Although tents have been cleared out, sanitation problems remain — and not just from excrement lying around. Since April, janitors have picked up more than 13,000 used needles just from two Bay Area Transit Stations alone. Over the past few years, at least four BART passengers reported being pricked by dirty needles left behind in the seats.
Critics say city policies are only making the issues worse. Every year, San Francisco's health department hands out millions of free syringes to drug users in an effort to reduce HIV infections among addicts.
Of the 400,000 needles given away each month, only about 246,000 are collected in the city's designated disposal sites.
Needles and poop sprinkled around San Francisco is not exactly new, but incidents and complaints from citizens are on the rise. Over the past decade, 311 calls reporting human waste have increased by 400 percent. In early July, a picture from one resident went viral, showing a 20-pound bag of feces that had been left on a sidewalk.
What does the new mayor say?
Newly elected Mayor London Breed recounted taking a stroll just a few days after her inauguration.
"I will say there is more feces on sidewalks than I've ever seen growing up here," she told NBC. "This is a huge problem and we are not just talking about from dogs — we're talking about from humans." She also saw one man prepping a needle as she walked by.
Breed has vowed that tackling the homelessness problem is her first priority. She supports opening the first sites in the U.S. for safe drug injection, but the city has held off on the launch after reportedly getting cold feet over fears of criminal liability.