As explained this past Friday by area authorities, police officers in San Francisco have been sent out to stores all across the city in an effort to catch a large number of shoplifters as they try to carry out their crimes.
One spokesperson for the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) explained that police officers initiated a total of 60 arrests throughout the month of December, explained a report from the San Francisco Chronicle. Law enforcement officials are making sure to keep all specific information about the new initiative hush-hush as it is still in effect and working. Roughly half of these total arrests were provided diversion and the rest are currently in the process of being taken to court, explained police forces.
“These operations have resulted in 13 felony bookings, over 47 misdemeanor citations, and they will continue,” stated the SFPD in a release.
SFPD Deputy Chief Raj Vaswani stated that the work kicked off at the end of last month and would continue working out until the end of next month at least. Reportedly, the department is expected to continue the program out into January of next year.
“We’re going to assess it and see how successful it is,” stated Vaswani. “Of course, we also have to look at the overall resources and how sustainable it is.”
Despite the reported numbers for burglary dropping in San Francisco dropping over the course of this past year, explained data reported by the SFPD, the crime of robbery has spiked by almost 5% from last year. In the same vein, larceny has also jumped closer to 10%, which included the act of shoplifting in its definition.
The situation in regard to crime throughout the city ended up causing the removal from office District Attorney Chesa Boudin. the new current DA Brooke Jenkins set up more severe punishments for a large number of offenses. According to a report from the Chronicle, Police forces increased the total number of arrests that they took to the DA’s office for prosecution by almost 20% in the wake of Brooke taking over.
“Addressing retail theft is a priority for my office and we have been working closely with the San Francisco police to ensure that there is accountability and appropriate consequences in all cases,” stated Jenkins in a release.
The stores that took part in this new initiative included Gap Inc. and Safeway. Vaswani also highlighted that the project utilized stores for Old Navy, Whole Foods, Target, CVS, Macy’s, and Walgreens.
Previously, Walgreens announced it was going to have to shut down stores in the area to an increase in “organized retail crime.”
“Retail theft is not a victimless crime. It hurts our local business. It hurts our workers who are getting their hours cut or losing their jobs. It hurts people who are shopping to feed their families and it hurts our seniors who depend on neighborhood pharmacies that are forced to shutter,” explained Adam Lobsinger, a spokesperson from the SFPD, to the Chronicle.