Shoplifting Is Plaguing Residents, Stores in San Francisco

Officials say shoplifters are targeting more stores in San Francisco. The thieves often steal from security cameras and then walk out with their items.A Bay Area reporter captured a shoplifter at Walgreens placing stolen goods in a garbage bag while a security guard, two observers and another watched from the other end of the aisle. Another October video shows a shoplifter leaping over the counter at Walgreens to steal an air mattress. Then, he leisurely strolls out of the store while bystanders observe.Many retail executives, police officers and city officials attribute the increase to Proposition 47. This 2014 ballot measure reclassified nonviolent theft as a misdemeanor as long as the goods stolen were less than $950.Representatives from some of the nation's largest drugstore chains spoke out at a May virtual board of supervisors hearing. They highlighted how serious the rise in shoplifting. Walgreens representatives stated that 17 stores had been closed in the area by shoplifters and that the number of incidents in San Francisco was four times greater than its national average.Brendan Dugan, head of CVS Health's retail crime division, stated that California was an epicenter of organized retail crime. He also said that CVS employees were told not to pursue thieves for their safety.Dugan stated during the hearing that there have been incidents in which security officers were attacked on a fairly regular basis in San Francisco.Ahsha Safai (one of the board members) said that San Francisco's shoplifting situation was out-of-control during the hearing.He said that seniors, disabled people, and children are all afraid to enter these stores. It's happening openly. We cannot just say that it is okay for a city to do this.Commander Raj Vaswani of the San Francisco Police Departments Investigation Bureau stated that shoplifting has increased and is causing more violence.He said that we are seeing more violence and more aggressive behavior. There are many repeat offenders.According to data from the San Francisco Police Department, only 2.8% of all larceny cases this year were solved. However, overall crime is down in the city when compared with the same period last. Since March, when Walgreens announced a number of store closures in the Bay Area area, larceny crime has increased by nearly 22%.London Breed, the Mayor of San Francisco, stated that Walgreens and CVSes have been hard hit and that more police officers are needed to address the problem.She said that we ultimately need more officers. We are not trying to create a large force. It is more because people are retiring or leaving. It is important that we have enough staff to cover the ground.She said that all the questions that people ask us are for police officers. They want them to be out on the beat. This is how you can get to know the people you serve.Interview requests were not answered by representatives from CVS and Walgreens.The Daily Caller News Foundation provides content free of charge to all news publishers that are able to reach a large audience. Email [email protected] to inquire about licensing opportunities for this original content.Do you have a comment about this article? Send us an email at [email protected] with your comments. We will publish them in our We Hear You section.