Walgreens is closing five more of their San Francisco stores due to “organized retail crime.”
The stores are set to close permanently by the end of the month.
“Organized retail crime continues to be a challenge facing retailers across San Francisco, and we are not immune to that,” Walgreens spokesperson Phil Caruso told SFGate on Tuesday. “Retail theft across our San Francisco stores has continued to increase in the past few months to five times our chain average. During this time to help combat this issue, we increased our investments in security measures in stores across the city to 46 times our chain average in an effort to provide a safe environment.”
The drug store chain said that they plan to move employees from the stores that are closing to other nearby locations.
San Francisco Supervisor Ahsha Safaí said the news is “devastating” in a tweet about the closures.
“I am completely devastated by this news – this Walgreens is less than a mile from seven schools and has been a staple for seniors, families and children for decades,” he wrote. “This closure will significantly impact this community.”
I am completely devastated by this news – this Walgreens is less than a mile from seven schools and has been a staple for seniors, families and children for decades. This closure will significantly impact this community.
— Ahsha Safai 安世輝 (@Ahsha_Safai) October 12, 2021
Safaí added, “This is exactly why we need more presence on our commercial corridors and an expansion of the ’10A’ program to reduce and deter commercial retail theft.”
“The City needs to act with a sense of urgency to reduce and deter the number of incidents of commercial retail theft. That is exactly what the ‘10A’ legislation aims achieve as we approach the holiday season,” his Twitter thread concluded.
Walgreens has said that some of their stores in the city are losing up to $1,000 per day in stolen merchandise.
The extremely liberal city has stopped prosecuting people almost entirely for theft and shoplifting after a 2014 ballot referendum downgraded the theft of property less than $950 in value from a felony charge to a misdemeanor.
— Lyanne Melendez (@LyanneMelendez) June 14, 2021
In May, the Independent reported that Walgreens has closed 17 of its stores due to rampant stealing, and CVS has called the city “one of the epicenters of organized retail crime.”
Speaking to the New York Times, Brendan Dugan, the director of the retail crime division at CVS Health, called San Francisco “one of the epicenters of organized retail crime” and said employees were instructed not to pursue suspected thieves because encounters had become too dangerous.