Lazy criminals won’t hike up a steep hill. For example, the intersection of Hyde and Lombard streets (Russian Hill) is a crowded tourist spot overlooking “the crookedest street in the world.” It’s located at the top of a very steep incline, but in terms of proximity it’s within walking distance to Fisherman’s Wharf. Generally speaking, all cruise line ports are tourist attractions which tend to have many of the same problems as Las Vegas: Organized prostitution orchestrated by limousine and taxi drivers, counterfeit merchandise (designer purses, electronics, and fake jewelry), restaurants that charge customers more than they authorized, petty theft, stolen wallets, car break-ins, and Club Suede (shootings).
Here’s another example. Grace Cathedral on Nob Hill is a tourist spot too, and it’s located within walking distance of the Tenderloin district, the theater district, Union Square, and Chinatown. (Contrary to public opinion, Chinatown has serious problems including mafias, and the reason why I know that is because during the 1990’s my then boss Lieutenant Scott Hundley sent me to the SoMa district and I discovered that their hangout was a 24 hour diner on the ground floor of the Vagabond Inn.)
Union Street in the Cow Hollow district runs perpendicular to a steep incline and so it should have remained safe, but it’s located near a residential hotel on Lombard Street that re-opened in 2012. It’s a hike up a few blocks but not enough to deter those who left behind their dirty heroine needles on the sidewalks and some vandalism.
The flagship mansions on top of Pacific Heights are on a steep incline, but otherwise they’re within walking distance of lower Fillmore (a very sleazy Safeway shopping center and McDonald’s parking lot that needs a security guard 24/7) and the Western Addition district. Also, the “Gold Coast”, which is a quiet peaceful strip of picturesque mansions and plenty of parking, is located in an area that’s difficult to walk to. It’s on Broadway in between Divisidero and the Presidio. It runs perpendicular along a very steep incline, making it difficult to hike to from both north and south. To the west is the Presidio. It’s accessible from the east and also by bus on Divisidero, but in my opinion it’s still too much hiking for the caliber of criminals on Lombard and lower Fillmore.
The exception to all of this is the upper Haight-Ashbury district which is connected to the rest of the city by MUNI (buses). For the longest time the neighborhood has attracted the laziest people who have ever existed in the history of the United States. They’re not like the LGBT population in the Castro who left their families in the Midwest because of discrimination, or the Southeast Asian immigrants in the Tenderloin who are struggling to find their footing in America. During the 1960’s mainstream media reported to the rest of the country that Haight-Ashbury is the epicenter for Hippie life, and teenagers have been running away from home to be homeless there ever since. For decades people took drugs and slept on the sidewalks during the summer and some of them had really wild street behaviors. There are still a lot of shops that promote drug paraphernalia, especially for LSD and pot, but also there are ethnic and multicultural shops and cafes that do healthy things like host free art exhibits and poetry readings. If I had teenagers I wouldn’t let them visit Haight-Ashbury alone with their friends but it would be fine if I was there.