Graffiti'd crime warning

 Images Photo
BB pal Greg Long snapped this photo of a stencil graffiti'd warning of crime in San Francisco's SOMA area: "High Crime Area. Secure Person & Auto"



  1. I’ve heard that warnings like this can be traps. Pickpockets post signs saying “Watch out for pickpockets!” Then they watch as tourists pat the pockets containing their valuables, and make a note of which pocket to go after.

    1. I know several people who have been mugged, but I’ve never met anyone who has been pickpocketed in San Francisco. I’m not sure we have many of them.

      1. Two guys attempted to pickpocket me on a San Francisco bus. It was pretty pathetic really. They were elderly and one guy dropped change and asked for my help in picking it up. When I bent over, the other guy clumsily tried to get my wallet. Right away, a bunch of people on the bus yelled, “Hey! He’s trying to pickpocket you.” And just then the bus stopped and they shuffled off, like trying to run but actually moving very slowly. I bet back in the day they were quite a criminal duo though…

        1. Perhaps the duo were providing misdirection for another set of criminals who were picking other people’s pockets (who in turn might have been providing misdirection for yet another set of criminals, ad infinitum; an accursed recursive, if you will).

    1. Can we get a bunch of these on Wall St.?

      “High Crime Area: Secure Pension & Assets”

      Hello, all you lower-Manhattan-area activist/prankster/scofflaws! The creative direction has been generated and approved. Go forth and execute with all speed!

      It’s my birthday today, so I wanna see this done in time to be mentioned on tomorrow morning’s news! I’d supply the Krylon myself, but I’m in the wrong timezone.

  2. This is clearly a fraud. First, it’s alway sunny in California. Secondly, everyone knows that the sidewalks in San Francisco are paved with gold.

  3. when i was in vancouver once i saw a warning someone had written in chalk with oddly neat and floral cursive warning tourists that they were entering a heroin district and that they should turn around. i saw this as i was walking out of the district and after passing by what i think was a bunch of heroin addicts buying drugs from an ice cream truck

    1. passing by what i think was a bunch of heroin addicts buying drugs from an ice cream truck

      To many, this may have been addicts getting needles from a clean needle dispenser truck.

  4. I wanted to create a stencil like that for my old ‘hood in Oakland after I got robbed (twice) and beaten up, which read: “Caution: Children With Guns”. Maybe a little stick-adult with its hands in the air, and a little stick-punk with a gigantic heater….

  5. In Chicago we mark our high crime areas too—with security cameras, all with a big flashing blue light, just like the K-mart special. Its kind of good to know, one block can make a huge difference.

  6. This seriously needs to be ‘shopped:


  7. I couldn’t make out the stenciled writing. First I got “Become Person & Auto”, which was fairly surreal, then I thought it was “Begone, Person & Auto”, which made more sense but seemed unnecessarily camp.

  8. Cute, but it seems as though once an area is tagged as a high-crime zone, a smart criminal will use that opportunity to move one street over – where at least some people will go (perhaps those who are naive, and are easier to score big from by robbing) once reading the warning.

    1. There is no such thing as a “smart criminal”. It is a contradiction of terms: a non-sense.

      You mean “vicious criminal”.

  9. I worked by the powell stop for a couple year at the art store that used to be there. I don’t think I can even count high enough to tell you how many people I caught stealing there, in addition to the prostitution, drugs, and violence I saw out back every day. I learned a bit about the drug culture from some of the characters who would come in though. One very voluptuous lady came in one day and wanted to chat me up about paint brushes. After a few minutes she had told me that she already owned most of them. Her boyfriend, a crack dealer, trades crack for the brushes to give to her because she paints dungeons in the nude for a living. A few weeks later I caught a guy shoving brushes in his shirt and pants frantically. I made him put them back as he pleaded that he really needed some crack. True story. Downtown SF is so fully of crime and the police are never anywhere to be found, except the presido. If you have to call them down for some reason they will give you a hard time for bothering them. There is a police station a few blocks away, and it is surrounded by the most crime I’ve seen anywhere. Basically on the same block you can buy any pills you want, and they are not at all shy about it. It kind of reminded me of hamsterdam from The Wire.

  10. This warning gives me a good idea for an iPhone app… How about a real-time crime density google map that watches 911 calls?

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