Journalist Albert Samaha, the Inequality Editor at BuzzFeed News, interviewed our client Jordan Smith, who has long worked in the restaurant industry around the Bay Area and found himself living on the economic margins. In the article – The Only Way For Some People To Stay In San Francisco Is To Steal: As San Francisco’s wealthy residents panic over property crime, some of the city’s less privileged can’t find ways to make ends meet – the author connects Jordan’s attempts to narrowly hang onto his life in San Francisco to his own love of the City where so many, including his own immigrant family with SF roots, are being priced out. In a media landscape that largely amplifies the fears of property crime and demonizes and dehumanizes the people who commit them, we need more stories of the people whose economic circumstances and unmet basic needs explain some of their choices. Then, perhaps, we can start to better direct public resources to address the root causes of crime rather than continue to rely on policing and the carceral system which cannot solve nor prevent these problems.
“I’m sorry I took the wire, times are tough right now,” Smith remembers saying to the two officers. “I’m not getting unemployment money, I’m hungry, I’m cold, I’m just trying to make ends meet.”