San Francisco to crack down on brazen shoplifting

San Francisco to crack down on brazen shoplifting
© Greg Nash

The city of San Francisco announced new efforts on Wednesday to curtail retail shoplifting, including expanding investigation staffing and reporting efforts.

Among the initiatives, the San Francisco Police Department’s reporting system, which allows businesses to report retail crime, will be updated so that businesses can report thefts more easily online.

Additionally, the police department’s Organized Retail Crime Unit will increasing staffing from two employees to six “to better investigate crimes locally and to work regionally with the California Highway Patrol’s Organized Retail Crime Task Force,” according to a release from San Francisco Mayor London Breed’s office.

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A community ambassador program run by the San Francisco Police Department, which enlists retired officers to patrol around the city, will also increase its numbers from eight members to 25.

“Retail theft and commercial burglaries are not victimless crimes,” Breed said in a statement. “They hurt working families due to reduced work hours, shuttered stores and lost jobs. They hurt customers and seniors who are losing convenient access to prescription medications and vaccinations because of pharmacy closures. They hurt neighborhoods suffering from fewer local retailers and more empty storefronts.”

“The strategy we’re outlining today is an all-hands-on-deck approach that brings the full partnership of state and local law enforcement and retailers to bear to aggressively pursue, investigate and deter organized retail crime in San Francisco,” she continued. 

The initiatives come as the city seeks to counter its image as being soft on crime, The Associated Press reported.

Crime in the city from Jan. 1 through Sept. 19 is up more than 2 percent compared to the same period last year, according to police data. Larceny theft is up 3.6 percent and burglary is up almost 1 percent. Robberies, however, have declined 7 percent.