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A side by side image of 3 police officers standing next to a tent and garbage can and another image of the same location with the tent and can removed.
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San Francisco Cleaned Up for APEC: See Before and After Photos

Written by The Standard StaffPublished Nov. 15, 2023 • 5:30am
Before and after photos of streets near Moscone Center and Civic Center showcase the city’s effort to clean up ahead of the 2023 APEC summit. | Source: The Standard Staff/AP Photo/Getty Images

Elected officials, business leaders and ordinary San Francisco residents are noting an improvement in street conditions as world leaders and top CEOs arrive for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.

In particular, there has been a noticeable reduction in the number of tents and drug activity along Van Ness Avenue, in United Nations Plaza and around the Speaker Nancy Pelosi Federal Building, which has long been the epicenter of the city’s drug crisis.

Ahead of the summit, The Standard's photographers visited many of the areas where tents and rubbish frequently blocked sidewalks, and where drug dealers and users often conducted transactions. This week, photographers returned to many of these same spots to document any changes.

Sidewalks that were once packed with tents and people loitering were empty this week. Exactly what tactics the city used were explored in this story about the changes.

See below for before and after photographs of San Francisco.

READ MORE: Anti-APEC Protesters Block Traffic on San Francisco Streets

A street view of a homeless encampment along a city street as people walk through the crosswalk on a sunny day.A pedestrian walks down an empty city sidewalk on a sunny day.
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The corner of Seventh and Mission streets was populated with an encampment and activity on June 29, left. The area was empty as of Nov. 3, right. | Jeremy Chen/The Standard; RJ Mickelson/The Standard
People stand around a plaza area with City Hall in the background.A gated plaza with a few people walking though with City Hall in the background.
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U.N. Plaza looking toward City Hall is bustling on May 11, left. On Tuesday, the area was less busy, and white barricades limited the flow of people, right. | Jason Henry for The Standard; RJ Mickelson/The Standard
People linger around a courtyard area that has a large statue of a standing bearded man on a pedestal.People walk through an empty courtyard area that has a large statue of a standing bearded man on a pedestal.
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A large encampment is set up outside the Asian Art Museum on Fulton Street on May 11, left. At right, the area is largely vacant on Monday. | Jason Henry for The Standard; Justin Katigbak/The Standard
Pedestrians pass a homeless encampment on a sidewalk as a SFPD vehicle is parked on the street and in the background is residential building.Five planter basin sit on the sidewalk along a city street.
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An encampment is set up at Van Ness Avenue at Eddy Street on Sept. 26, left, and the same location is outfitted with planter boxes, as seen on Monday. | Benjamin Fanjoy for The Standard; Justin Katigbak/The Standard
7 people sit on the ground surrounded by personal belongings and trash.2 pedestrians pass the exterior of a building.
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The corner of Seventh and Mission streets is pictured on May 16, left, and the area is now cleared, as seen on Monday. | Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images; Justin Katigbak/The Standard
A worker power washes the ground as 3 people while sitting and standing a few feet away.A worker power washes the ground as 3 people while sitting and standing a few feet away.
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A worker power-washes a corner at Van Ness Avenue and Redwood Street in San Francisco on Nov. 7, left, and the area is cleared, as seen on Monday, right. | David Sjostedt/The Standard; Justin Katigbak/The Standard
A person pushes a stroller across the street next to a homeless encampment. Large trucks and city vehicles are in the background.A pedestrian passes plywood laying on the street in a empty alleyway on a city block.
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Unhoused people camp at Minna Street between Seventh and Julia streets on Sept. 14, and the area is largely cleared now, as seen on Monday. | RJ Mickelson/The Standard; Justin Katigbak/The Standard
3 San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) officers stand next to a tent and small homeless encampment on the sidewalk on a sunny day.A pedestrian walks down the sidewalk with an empty lot in the background.
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A small tent encampment is set up at Van Ness and Golden Gate avenues on Nov. 7, left, and the area is cleared on Monday. | David Sjostedt/The Standard; Justin Katigbak/The Standard
People gather on the corner of a city block, some waiting to cross the streets, others on their phones and some people selling merchandise that's on the sidewalk.Four police officers walk down the street as cars pass by.
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The corner of Sixth and Mission streets is full of activity on June 29, left, and the area is vacated on Tuesday, right. | Jeremy Chen/The Standard; RJ Mickelson/The Standard
A long homeless encampment on a city street.Two pedestians walk down an empty street city street.
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An area on Golden Gate Avenue near Jones Street had a large homeless encampment on Aug. 23, left. The area was unoccupied on Monday. | Jeff Chiu/AP Photo; Justin Katigbak/The Standard
A group of people congregate on a street corner with a street sign that read 7th St.A few people stand on the sidewalk with a street sign that read 7th St.
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Police prepare to clear a group gathered at Seventh and Mission streets on May 23, left. At right, a few people linger in the area on Monday, and a fence has been erected around the Nancy Pelosi Federal Building. | Benjamin Fanjoy for The Standard; Justin Katigbak/The Standard

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