A shocking video, posted to social media, appears to show a man shoplifting a garbage bag full of items from a San Francisco Walgreens in broad daylight as a security guard and several customers look on — and commenters are saying the clip shows a commonplace occurrence in the city.
A reporter with San Francisco’s ABC affiliated posted the video to Twitter, tagging the city’s progressive district attorney, Chesa Boudin, whose office has shifted focus from petty crime to focus “only on stopping serious, repeat offenders, especially violent ones,” according to an interview a deputy district attorney did with the UC Davis student paper.
The video is also tagged, “No Consequences.”
— Lyanne Melendez (@LyanneMelendez) June 14, 2021
Commenters on the video “said the apparent theft is an example of the city’s lawlessness,” according to Fox News, which pointed out a spike in retail theft, among other crimes.
Shoplifting is particularly endemic, according to The New York Times, which reported last month that the “crime of shoplifting has spun out of control” and that Walgreens is a particular target; “thefts at its stores in San Francisco were four times the chain’s national average,” the New York Times noted, adding that the chain has “closed 17 stores, largely because the scale of thefts had made business untenable” in the city.
Brendan Dugan, director, Organized Retail Crime & Corporate Investigations at CVS Health even told the New York Times that San Francisco is “one of the epicenters of organized retail crime” and that CVS now instructs its security personnel to refrain from pursuing shoplifters because they’ve been “assaulted on a pretty regular basis.”
Although both Fox News and The New York Times point to a number of factors responsible for the increase in petty theft, “retail executives and police officers” suggested that “Proposition 47, the 2014 ballot measure that reclassified nonviolent thefts as misdemeanors if the stolen goods are worth less than $950, had emboldened thieves,” and that shoplifting in San Francisco has become so lucrative that organized crime is now involved.
“There appears to be plenty of blame to go around when it comes to organized retail crime run amok in San Francisco, from limited legal consequences for first-time and repeat offenders and the lucrative nature of the illegal trading, primarily done via online platforms, such as eBay,” RetailWire noted in its own report on San Francisco’s shoplifting epidemic.
San Francisco DA Boudin, in turn, placed the blame on the police for “poor follow up” in an interview late last month, at one point even suggesting that San Francisco police officers are deliberately ignoring crime because the DA’s office is pressing reform, and the law enforcement community wants to remain “racist.”
“The reality is the POA (police officers union) needs someone to point the finger at and this isn’t a new issue,” he said in an interview with a local CBS affiliate. “Look they were blaming (Vice President) Kamala Harris and attacking her when she was the district attorney. This is an age-old problem in San Francisco because the POA wants to get away without doing their job. They want to get away with allowing their officers to send racist text messages, to use excessive force against the community, and to engage in systematic violations of civil rights of Black and brown drivers on our streets. And I’m pushing back and demanding that they modernize, that they reform, and that they respect all the members of our community.”
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