The theft has gotten so bad in San Francisco that some stores are now locking their freezers and putting metal chains on the doors to make sure they stay closed overnight.
Video taken by a potential shopper at a local Walgreens in the city shows aisle after aisle of products locked behind Perspex and glass, out of reach of thieves.
Even low-value items like toothpaste and tissues are kept under lock and key, leading to widespread theft in many of the city’s pharmacies and supermarkets.
At one particular location, at 16th Street and Geary Blvd, the freezer doors are completely bolted, with staffed thieves coming into the store to empty the items overnight.
Store workers have already reported a problem with thieves entering the store about 20 times a day to fill their bags with products that need to be kept at cooler temperatures, such as frozen pizza and ice cream.
Shoplifting has gotten so bad in San Francisco that some stores are now locking their freezers and putting metal chains on the doors to ensure they stay closed overnight.
Video taken by a potential shopper at a local Walgreens in the city shows aisle after aisle of products behind Perspex and glass.
A local branch of Walgreens has been completely boarded up, though it is still open
The problem of this type of reckless theft is not unique to San Francisco; Other major cities across the country, including New York, have also grappled with this problem over the past few years.
In some cases this leaves pharmacy chains with no choice but to leave the area entirely as rampant theft hurts the bottom line.
Images of chained merchandise mark a new low point, where stores risk alienating loyal loyal customers who can no longer be bothered to go through the rigmarole of having to call employees just to take something off the shelf.
Another local branch of Walgreens in San Francisco has been completely boarded up, though still open, and was recently the scene of a fatal confrontation between a homeless trans woman and a security guard.
Makeup is kept under lock and key in the store and customers need a staff member to unlock it
Virtually every item is behind a locked Perspex shelf
Customers now need staff to help retrieve items from shelves
Boxes of hair dye, which retail for around $10 a box, cannot be taken off the shelf without a staff member to unlock the perspex protectors.
A similar scene is playing out in stores across California.
Across the San Francisco Bay, in Vallejo, a supermarket desperate to slow the constant shoplifting that plagues it has installed giant metal barriers at the exits to stop theft.
Safeway recently added a metal emergency exit gate in front of an entrance that warns that an ‘alarm will sound’ if thieves try to leave the building.
The Vallejo store closed a second entrance and other locations are said to be following suit to deter the thieves.
Exit bars were installed at some Safeway locations months ago, after a shopper took to the store on Twitter, blocking closed checkout lanes with large metal gates, as well as lining the store’s exits with barriers.
San Francisco’s once-bustling Union Square is facing an exodus of businesses, residents and tourists due to crime, homelessness and the city’s lax approach to open-air drug use.
With rents rising as fast as crime rates, San Francisco, known for its liberal outlook and laid-back lifestyle, has become a haven for drug dealers and addicts.
A Safeway in Vallejo recently installed a metal emergency exit gate in front of an entrance that alerts an ‘alarm’ when shoppers try to leave the building.
An Oakland store has installed gates in each checkout lane that are closed to stop shoplifters
Threat signs tell customers that an ‘alarm will sound’ if customers use the exit.
Shoplifting and theft have become a huge problem in San Francisco, which has been overwhelmed by the homeless and drug addicts.
‘Bars everywhere, multiple security guards, you have to scan your receipt to open the gate to leave, and if you haven’t bought anything an employee has to open the gate to let you out,’ one Twitter user previously commented. This year regarding an Oakland Safeway store.
Many California cities have dealt with high-crime rates and homelessness because liberal policies have done little to stop the problems.
This has caused people to move out of state and hurt economic activity in some downtowns, including San Francisco.
San Francisco has been heavily impacted by big businesses packing their bags after the homeless and drug addicts took over the streets, driving up crime.
Tourism is down 16 percent from pre-pandemic levels and workers are leaving their offices to work from home and stores are emptying. In its place, about 7,000 homeless descend on downtown and tourist traps.
San Francisco’s once-bustling Union Square and downtown area are a shadow of their former selves: rows of empty stores, even on peak weekend shopping days, and nearby hotels — including a massive Hilton — unable to pay their mortgages.
The historic Flood Building, a survivor of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, stands largely empty: the gap is gone with nearly every business on the property except for a tired branch of Dr. Marten and an Urban Outfitters store offering 70 percent off.
Robberies in San Francisco are up 12.5 percent, while overall crime is down 5.9 percent from 2022.
On Market Street is the soon-to-be-sold-out Westfield San Francisco Center, with urine pouring out the doors and security guards stationed at every store.
Westfield announced its planned exit last month, and several of the mall’s occupiers have already said they will follow suit.
Days later, AT&T announced that its iconic flagship store at 1 Powell Street, the nation’s largest, would be closing permanently.
Ross Dress For Less and Saks Off 5th are operating a one-in, one-out system to deter thieves when Nordstrom Rack closes entirely in September — along with its sister Nordstrom and scores of other stores like T-Mobile and Payless Shoes.
Local resident and hospital worker Edward Liu, 49, told Newstimesuk.com: ‘A lot of shops are closing, a lot of hotels are closing. ‘You don’t get numbers downtown anymore because so many people are working from home.
‘Homeless people definitely don’t want to live – it’s not very attractive.
‘They defecate, urinate on the street. They consume drugs on the street. The mayor is doing nothing and has been for a long time.’
Commercial realtor Mark Ritchie told Newstimesuk.com that San Francisco has been particularly hard hit by the rise of remote work that has reduced footfall in the financial district and Union Square area.
He said: ‘The office market in San Francisco has been destroyed. Because of how tech-oriented the economy in the Gulf region is, it was the most severe reaction from Covid and remote work.
‘Downtown San Francisco is one of the hardest cities to commute to so the remote work crowd, there’s more resistance.’
Robberies in San Francisco are up nearly 15 percent, while overall crime is down 6.7 percent.
Metron Target is experiencing a theft ‘every 10 minutes’, according to staff
Care products, including soaps and body bars, can be found here under lock and key at Target
A Target by the Bay operation in the city says they are being picked up from stores every ten minutes.
Employees say they have seen products actively ‘shoveled’ into bags before leaving.
Other products, including trays of lipstick and nail polish, are being cleaned out daily by shoppers, raising fears that the store may be next door to an escape from San Francisco’s rapidly emptying downtown.
A worker inside a Metro store in a shopping mall near San Francisco’s Union Square told the San Francisco Standard: ‘Every 10 minutes you see it.
‘Look in any corner of the shop, you’ll see people pouring things into a bag – food, cosmetics.’
One worker, who did not want to be named, told the news site: ‘It’s so sad that someone has to steal diapers for their baby.’
According to the news site, staff members said they regularly see people who appear to be homeless receiving food, and sometimes eating it at the store.
Another worker said they saw empty candy bar wrappers, soda cans and the occasional bottle of liquor around the store.
They said: I understand; They have to eat.’
According to an employee, aluminum foil and over-the-counter contraceptive pills are sought after by shoppers.
The foil is used to help drug users smoke fentanyl, an activist said.
Video footage of a nearby target has been shared on social media and shows that a large amount of their stock is now behind the barrier.
San Francisco has been plagued by a string of retail closings since the pandemic as the city fails to deal with rising crime and drug problems.
The Nordstrom Rack in downtown San Francisco closed on July 1
Market Street Anthropologie (pictured) closed its doors on May 13
Whole Foods also closed a flagship store in downtown San Francisco in April
Office Depot, located on Third Street (pictured), will also close
In the spring, retail giant Nordstrom announced it would close all of its locations in the city.
The company said it will close all remaining stores in the next few months due to the ‘changing dynamics’ of San Francisco.
In April, Whole Foods announced it was closing all of its locations, with Anthropologie and Office Depot making the same decision.
The stores join a growing list of stores that have abandoned the coastal city, including H&M, Marshalls, Gap and Banana Republic.
Whole Foods opened a new ‘flagship’ location at Trinity Place in the city’s Tenderloin district in March last year.
The company had hoped to revive footfall after two years of Covid-19 restrictions severely affected business in the region.
A year later and the organic food giant has announced that they will be closing their stores ‘temporarily’ due to safety concerns.
A spokesperson for Target said: ‘Retail crime is an urgent problem that is increasingly affecting teams and guests at Target and other retailers.
‘This is an issue that affects us all, limiting product availability, creating a less convenient shopping experience and most importantly, putting our team and guests at a disadvantage.
“We are working with legislators, law enforcement, and retail industry partners to advocate for public policy solutions to combat retail crime.”
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