San Francisco has problems.
The city has endured the COVID-19 crisis but reports say it has had twice as many fatal drug overdoses as coronavirus deaths.
Down the list but still concerning is shoplifting, which is causing unpleasant dominoes to fall.
- Shoplifters face only a misdemeanor if the stolen goods total less than $950.
- Hard-hit convenience stores have decided to pretty much look the other way, but they lose so much money that they close their doors.
- Many times, the stolen goods are immediately resold on the sidewalks, in close proximity to the scene of the crime.
Walgreens has decided to close 17 of its stores, and CVS has a policy that keeps its employees from engaging the criminals – because of the fact that many times the shoplifters fight the employees.
During a May 13 hearing with San Francisco officials, ideas were exchanged and complaints were aired.
“We’ve had incidents where our security officers are assaulted on a pretty regular basis in San Francisco,” Brendan Dugan, head of the CVS retail crime division, according to a New York Times report.
Police agree on the problem.
“The one trend we are seeing is more violence and escalating – and much more bold,” Commander Raj Vaswani of the San Francisco PD said at the hearing. “We see a lot of repeat offenders.”
Ahsha Safaí, a board of supervisors member who organized the hearing, told the Times that the city is a big part of the problem.
“It has become part of the landscape,” he said of the shoplifting. “People say, ‘Oh, well, that just happens.’”
Thieves “are obviously choosing locales based on what the consequences are,” Safaí said. “If there are no consequences for their actions, then you invite the behavior. Over and over.”