Don’t get mugged at GDC

2 years ago 4 of my friends at Sega got mugged the day they arrived in San Francisco for the Game Devlepers Conference. One of them got a broken tooth and a concussion.

I don’t know San Francisco that well yet but in the interest of trying to prevent something like that happening again here’s a map.

click for larger version Consider the red areas places my best guess at places you should not go. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be careful everywhere but those areas in particular seem more dangerous.

  • alexr

    And yet Sony’s big party will be in the red area. 🙂

  • CB

    dude, you have definitely become more japanese than american. A map of “dangerous areas”?? Hilarious. Here’s hoping the culture shock wears off soon. cheers mate.

  • sad

    Sorry to pick on you CB but it’s that kind of attitude that really upsets me. 4 of my friends got mugged and one got his teeth broken and a brain concussion. That’s effed up. And yet, when I tell that to most westerners including my friends instead of the *correct* reaction which should be horror that shit like that happens and dismay that this country is not safe. Instead they turn it around and basically think “dumb ass Japanese can’t take care of themselves” or some other from of “blame the victim” or “that’s life” or “sucks to be you” or on some other way blow it off.

    It’s not cool. It’s not something that should be taken for granted. It’s not something that should be blown off. It’s something we as westerners should gets pissed about and fix.

  • albertj

    Were your friends Japanese and were they mugged in daylight or nighttime? I think most areas are fairly safe during the day, but if you look like an out-of-towner, be careful at night. This ain’t Tokyo!

  • Dax
    culture shock my…

    “Culture Shock”???

    Since when “criminal activity” and / or “acts of violence” are considered “culture”?

  • FnuLnu
    observations on Moscone Center area

        First of all, I agree with you Greggman that a mugging (day or night) is not something that should be taken lightly.  Having attended Oracle conferences at the Moscone Center, I have heard similar stories.  And though your map of areas to avoid is well-intended, things are never that black and white.  For instance, Howard St. toward 3rd is a very desolate stretch, and I would avoid it.  Eddy St. is very seedy also.  Market St.  is pretty decent for the whole stretch, because it’s a heavy-duty tourist area, so the city tries to keep it clean and safe.  You might run into some panhandlers and homeless, but that’s about it.  Nighttime is generally worse than daytime, wherever you are in the area of your map.  If you stick to Market St., and/or catch a shuttle (perhaps provided by conference sponsors) or some other transport to and from your hotel and Moscone, you will be better off.

  • lu2
    are you still in the area?

    Hit me up on my phone if you are: lu2 at or 5579151. East Bay #.

  • homestar
    crime stats

    I found this SFPD map with crime stats. Between Market and Mission nearby the convention center seems to have high crime numbers.

    And you could always have fun looking at the San Fran vs Los Angeles comparison (auto theft bigger in SF, assault bigger in LA).

    Someone should post a link to crime stats for cities in Japan.

  • you’ve got to be kidding

    Only white folks in this country would generate a map like that. And quite frankly, as a 15 year San Franciscan, this is laughable (map, not your friend getting mugged)

    I’m sorry about your friend, but this kind of thing happens in every major city in the world (accept maybe Singapore and cities in Japan)

    During my 15 years here I’ve never been mugged. Not once.

    Truth is, you should always (within reason) be on your guard anywhere you go in any city in the world. It’s nice that Japanese cities don’t have these problems to the extent we do in the US, but they also don’t have the mixed ethnic culture or poverty that we do, making it harder to do so.

  • But that’s just it. They live in a society where they don’t have to worry about this issue. So, they have no concept of what a bad area looks like. They don’t see thick bars on every store front and think “better be on my guard”. They’ve never had that experience.

    You on the other hand have lived with this aweful situation for so long you no longer realize it’s a problem that you should be upset by. I know that was me … I lived in LA for 30+ years and was never mugged but I also knew which places to avoid, not to walk down this street or that. I knew to never leave stuff in my car in plain sight. I knew to pull out my car stereo (I’ve had 5 of them stolen so I guess I didn’t learn my lesson). I knew a zillion other little rules to stay safe. I thought the idea that LA was a dangerous city was a huge exaggeration.

    That is until I lived in Japan for 7 years. It took a couple of years of living there until it actually sunk in just out many little rules I’d been following to void crime because in Japan I didn’t have to follow them. One example, Wanna count the equivilent of $100 bills in Japan in public? Not a problem. In America I’d have stuffed the money in my pocket or backpack and then done it some where private. Another: car stereos, where as I learned to remove my stereo everyday here, In Japan, because they don’t have to worry about that particular issue they have hundreds of double sized car stereos with lots of cool features. Feature they can have because they don’t have to worry about them getting stolen where as since we in the west do have to worry about that we can’t have those kind of features.

    We should be ashamed and try to fix the problem but instead we’ve gotten so used to it we no longer recognize it as a problem and just think of it as part of life. That’s sad.

  • joe
    Never been mugged?

    It isn’t much use to mention you’ve never been mugged if you don’t list what kind of a target you are. Sure, I’ve never been mugged either but I’m over 6 feet tall and over 200 pounds. I’ve lived in quite a few cities and never thought about these kinds of concerns until I started a family. Everthing changes in your view of how safe things are when you look through the eyes of others.

  • mugging

    don’t worry joe, greggman is a nerdy dude who would probably be a good mugging target. Heh. No offense greggman.

    seriously though, that does suck.

    I was in Japan for 2 years, and then went to France for work, and got robbed in Paris.

    Sure I was doing something -stupid-. I was laying around at Eiffel Tower Park at night with my pda in the grass about 1 foot away from me, drinking wine with friends. Some guys came by made small talk and when they left it was gone.

    The thing is though, I didn’t realize what I was doing with stupid, because I was so used to doing that kinda thing in Japan without worrying a bit.

    Of course, not everywhere in Japan is SUPER safe, but geeesh. The difference is like night and day when comparing Tokyo or Osaka to the big cities of the west.

  • I agree with Gregg, this is a problem, it’s not funny at all, it should be fixed! I am in Milwaukee, and there is a group that walks around on weekend nights to make sure people get home safe. The cops are never fast enough- I watched my friend get carjacked with a gun to her head. The cops got there way too late. SF is even bigger than Milwaukee, I would be scared too. There is just too much poverty (and RACISM) in the US, people aren’t getting what they need, and they get desperate. Especially if there’s drugs involved. It makes me sad.

  • scaredpeople

    oh my god! let’s stay in for the rest of our lives!

  • anonemouse
    it IS sad

    I recall walking along Melrose ave in LA and counting the bullet holes in store windows. Seemed like almost every store had at least one. That’s CRAZY!

  • I haven’t noticed bullet holes here in SF but I have noticed piles of broken class every few car spots in certain parts of SF meaning that a car was broken into recently in that spot. They are all over the place, a few every block in the SOMA area and others. 🙁

  • anonemouse

    Gregg, you mentioned getting car stereos ripped off 5 times and forgot to mention also having your awesome Jetta stolen right out from your apartment complex underground parking garage!!! And this was in “the suburbs”!

  • statsman
    More stats

    Here is an international comparison of crimes reported to police:

    Looking through a bit, it is clear that Japan, which has a population that is about 40% of the USA, has crimes reported well below that percentage. Particularly well below in violent crime.

    Food for thought.

  • anonemouse
    This will upset you Gregg,

    Survey results were just released, of “Quality of Living” and San Fran out ranks Osaka by quite a difference:;jsessionid=ANXPHYI0LWTNMCTGOUFCHPQKMZ0QUJLW

  • Quality of Living

    It doesn’t really bother me at all.

    First off it’s Osaka. I’ve never lived there so I don’t know what it’s like. But also, it has nothing to with safety or culture. The ranking is purely about if it’s good to live in that city has an English Speaking North American. It uses things like access to English speaking doctors. Large American style Apartments or houses, Availability of English schools for a foreigner’s children and other things like that.

    The easiest way to think of that ranking is “If you want to live in New York City but were asked to live somewhere else would you enjoy it?”. Cities ranking above 100 the answer is “probably yes”, cities ranking below 100 the answer is “probably no”. Either way though it’s subjective.

  • ozzy
    Day Monkey

    Your map sucks ass. our actually more apt to get mugged around the tourist traps outlined in your map.

    People should hop in a cab and go down to The Ferry Building. Hog Island Oyster Co. Is down there with some great draft beer and Oysters so fresh you’ll think your at the farm. Slanted door is there also. Great restaurant.

  • anonymousTroy
    New Orleans 2000 SIGGRAPH

    I was invited to the Sony PS2 party, across the river in the industrial section.

    When we were on the bus from the hotel I made a joke to the (Japanese) SCE peeps next to me that the weird-ass city-sponsored street-sculptures of fish were anzen-jurushi. . . lose sight of the fish and you’re on the mean streets. (earlier they were quite surprised this whitey was actually listening in on their conversation 🙂

  • Street crime

    When going to a big city it’s very important to know where NOT to go. 

  • ConorMurphy
    Its too bad they weren’t killed

    This is map is bullshit. I live in San Francisco and its not dangerous unless you some pussy tool walking around with your convention tags still on and walking around with their laptop case wide open. They got what they deserved. Its too bad they weren’t just left for dead.

  • You sir, are part of why America Sucks. Thanks for being part of the problem.

  • Chrisvactioninginjapanagain
    Wow, Americans are stupid sh*ts who don’t know any better than sh*t.


    I’m 100% behind you. I guess it’s why I choose to vacation in Japan when I want to get out of the U.S.

    It used to be mind blowing hearing the types of people that say “they got what they deserved”, “it happens everywhere”, “everybody does it”, but then I realized, no, it’s just dumbass americans who think drug use, violence, ignorance, selfishness and just general “assholeishness” are normal traits. But it doesn’t phase me anymore, I’ve just come to expect this kind of low behavior from Americans. The comments here just prove it.

    The worst part of it all is… young japanese are emulating this behavior now.

    I visited japan 5 years ago, and I’m here again now. It’s very obvious that things have gotten worse here.

    Also, your map of S.F. (i live in a suburb of S.F.) is pretty much perfect. You isolated the Mission district (crack whores, illegal mexicans, and whities who think drugs and stabbings are fun) and the Tenderloin (crack whores, cross dressing prostitutes, and blacks who thing drugs and stabbings are fun).

    The mexican food isn’t good enough to risk the Mission district, and the Strip Clubs are not hot enough to go to the Tenderloin.