San Francisco’s shoplifting epidemic has become so rampant that retailers have been forced to close stores.
The SF Chronicle reported earlier in the month that stores such as CVS and Walgreens are shutting down locations in the city because of the “out of control” shoplifting, forcing elderly residents without vehicles to walk much greater distances to collect their prescription medications.
77-year-old John Susoeff, who used to pick up his prescriptions two blocks away, and helped collect medicine for his less-mobile neighbors said that the store closure was “terrible” but also expressed “I don’t blame them.”
Retailers spoke to the SF Chronicle, and explained that the culprits are not “opportunistic shoplifters” that might be “driven by poverty,” rather, most losses come at the hands of “professional thieves.” Supervisor Ahsha Safai held a hearing with criminal enforcement organizations and retailers, explaining that residents “are scared to go into” the stores because the crime is “just happening brazenly,” she said that it’s unacceptable for the city to passively accept the situation, rather they must “come up with solutions.”
Shoplifting increases are responsible for the closure of 17 San Francisco Walgreens locations in the past 5 years. It still retains 53 outlets.
Jason Cunningham, regional VP for Walgreen’s pharmacy and retail operations told the SF Chronicle that closing the stores was a “difficult decision” but explained that theft in the San Francisco are was four times greater than the national average. Furthermore, Walgreens spends 35 times as much for security guards in the San Francisco region than anywhere else.
CVS faced similar problems in San Francisco, with 42% of all losses coming from 12 stores. Brendan Dugan, director of corporate investigations and organized retail crime explained that guards at Walgreens and CVS locations have been assaulted. According to him, most shoplifting is performed by opportunists, but high-value items, accounting for 85% of total dollar losses are the result of professional crime.
Safeway also saw a “dramatic increase” in shoplifting, and suggested that a California bill from 2014, Proposition 47, may be responsible. The bill increased the felony threshold for thefts from $450 to $950. This bill probably disaffects small-dollar opportunists, but might have greatly helped organized retail criminals.
Professionals can game the system by stealing items worth less than that threshold from multiple retailers on the same day. This complicates the prosecution, as district attorneys have to chase down aggregate petty theft charges by the same individual.
The shoplifting issue is just another of San Francisco’s multiple sore spots, as the city faces a wave of “woke” politics infecting their system at all levels of government.
Author: Courtney Copeland