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SF local reaction mixed to increased security presence for APEC

One of several street protests against APEC this week in San Francisco
Flickr / Creative Commons
One of several street protests against APEC this week in San Francisco

In this week's Question of the Bay, KALW asked San Franciscans about the impact of the APEC summit and if they felt safer with the increased security presence on downtown streets.

Many of those we question said, like Tony who spoke on Market Street that they appreciated the heavy security presence.

“I appreciate the increased security, not just for the community, but for the diplomats that are here in San Francisco.”

Tony's sentiments were shared by Rob who said the presence of more cops gave those who travel through downtown streets a greater sense of security following the closing of many businesses and the upsurge in crime and drug abuse.

“We need it very badly to keep the crime.”
“Has it affected you personally?”
“No, it has not.”
“And do you feel safer with the greater police presence around?”
“Indeed, I do.”

Derek said the increased security presence had an impact on the mood of the city as well as the influx of protesters downtown is deserted.

“Like I guess, I don't know anything about what that APEC even stands for. Nor do I really care. And I've seen a lot of protesters, I don't know what they're protesting. They’re protesting everything, the traffic is at a standstill. People don't look happy.”

Some took a more jaundiced view of the increased security like Zee, who had this to say:

“I hate it. I think it's ridiculous. I feel like the old saying while all the guards are watching the queen who's protecting the city.

A few city residents like Terence said, the increased security and traffic detours made it difficult for him and others to get to and from their homes besides traffic.

“And it's been hard to get to my house like my place. It's been hella crazy around here because I live on, I live like six blocks away from here so been really crazy. But today it's been pretty smooth, though.”

Tona said the increased security made it difficult getting around the city on public transportation.

“I had to catch the BART and the bus, because I didn't want to drive. It affected me.”

Not everyone was excited about the conference down in the tenderloin, lifelong San Francisco resident Christine Johnson was concerned about the way the city of San Francisco prepared for the conference.

“I live a block from where it's all going to be happening and I'm going to make a sign that says, ‘Please, visit the Tenderloin.’ so that the Chinese can see where their fentanyl is going and what it's doing to a large population in San Francisco.”

Sandra Halladey is a member of the 2024 KALW Audio Academy.
Passionate about speaking up for and building a constituency of support for public institutions — especially public education and the arts.
Alastair Boone is the Director of Street Spirit newspaper, and a member of KALW's 2024 Audio Academy.
Pat McMahon is a member of the 2024 KALW Audio Academy, an audio producer, sound artist, and radio enthusiast.
Sunni M. Khalid is a veteran of more than 40 years in journalism, having worked in print, radio, television, and web journalism.