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San Francisco Forms a ‘Poop Patrol’ to Clean Feces Off Its Sidewalks

Residents of San Francisco complain not only about the high cost of housing but also the often-unsanitary conditions of the city’s sidewalks. Now the city is taking steps to address at least one of those problems.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the city’s Public Works department is assigning a team of five workers and a steam-cleaner to find and clean up sidewalks and alleys where feces are found. While some San Francisco streets are cleaned up nightly, the so-called “Poop Patrol” will start their work in the afternoons.

The newspaper said that San Francisco receives about 65 complaints a day about feces on sidewalks, a number that has increased in the past year. Much of it comes from dogs whose owners don’t clean up after them, but San Francisco is also facing a plight of homelessness. To underscore the city’s homeless problem, one resident created a San Francisco Poop Map plotting citizen complaints about feces.

San Francisco has 22 “Pit Stop” toilets for pubic use, but many are closed by the late afternoon. The Poop Patrol was formed after San Francisco Mayor London Breed began touring city sidewalks in response to complaints about feces, the Chronicle said.

The problem is all the more stark given the wealth that many of San Francisco’s tech workers are enjoying. In July, a local real-estate company said that the median price of a home in San Francisco rose by $205,000 in the first half of 2018, the highest six-month gain in at least a quarter century.

On the same day that housing-price report was released, residents in San Francisco took to Reddit to complain about a 20-pound bag of feces that sat for hours in the city’s downtown Tenderloin district.

On Tuesday, residents also commented on the irony of a wealthy city needing to marshal a Poop Patrol to keep its sidewalks clean.

The issue is more than just a health and sanitary concern. The city also recently lost a semi-annual medical conference over attendees’ concern over the distressed conditions of San Francisco’s streets.