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SF Tenderloin resident documents daily life, crime incidents on social media; ‘It’s Crazy’

A longtime resident of San Francisco’s Tenderloin District has made it his mission to document life in the beleaguered neighborhood, hoping to help police and city officials better understand what people living there face on a daily basis.

John has lived in the Tenderloin for over 30 years and says he has never seen things as bad as they do now.

“This is just normal. We see this stuff all the time,” said John, asking us to hide his identity. “I’ve gotten so used to it that I don’t even think about the fact that sometimes it’s not right. It’s crazy.”

Last weekend, John caught a shooting on one of the many security cameras he has set up outside his home. In it, you see a man firing a gun multiple times in the middle of an intersection as people and cars drive by.

“There was a first shot fired from the other direction and then he just went off and just started firing back like wild, wild, west,” John said. “It was just madness.”

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John says he and his neighbors are constantly calling the police to report the violence and drug trafficking that plagues their neighborhood day and night.

He says the police are coming to investigate, but the dealers are just hiding until they’re gone.

“They’re smart. The dealers are smart, these people are smart, they move around, they come back and it goes on and on,” said John.

So John decided to take matters into his own hands. He has been documenting all drug trafficking and crime in his neighborhood for some time now and posting videos on social media under the name Tenderloin Tube.

He says his goal is to show people the reality of what’s going on, hoping that city officials and others will do something to stop it.

“I know it’s complicated and I know everyone has an opinion on what needs to be done. I don’t think empowering people to use drugs helps,” said John. “There are so many factors, there are the people who are using the drugs to get the help they need. There are the people who are selling the drugs. We have to be there. You have to address these issues.”

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John says that until these issues are resolved, he will continue to post videos of what is going on in the Tenderloin online. He wants everyone, especially those who do not live nearby, to witness what is happening so that they cannot close their eyes.
“We’re all begging for someone to listen to us and be more consistent and persevere,” he said.

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