I sometimes feel like there's a conservative slant to all this talk... you know, SF, home of the hippies, home of the liberal rich... "and they can't clean up their own city, ho ho ho! All those hypocritical bleeding hearts!"
I had heard from a few people, including some extended family who have lived an hour north of the city for decades, that said how bad it was going into my honeymoon last year, and I did a bit of legwork trying to figure out where we should avoid stumbling into and stuff like that, but during the trip... we really didn't see $hit. We were all over the place, and other than some grungy stuff in the Mission (where we had a fun rockin' time -- it reminded me of a slightly dirtier East Village), we hardly encountered anything. A few Haight weirdos and your odd yelling psychopath, but nothing really to bat an eye at...
I don't know, is all this talk coming from people who don't live in a metro area? We're in the middle of Boston and are at least used to running into homeless people, unhinged or no. I keep seeing this topic come up and am a little nonplussed.