With shoplifting ‘legal,’ organized crime has a field day in San Francisco

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With investors and residents fleeing, organized crime has found itself some big business opportunities in leftwing San Francisco.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle:

Retailers attributed a majority of losses to professional thieves instead of opportunistic shoplifters who may be driven by poverty, with one CVS leader calling San Francisco a hub of organized retail crime. Losses have shuttered drugstores providing vital services, even more critical during the pandemic as some stores give out vaccines.

“This has been out of control,” said Supervisor Ahsha Safaí, who held a hearing Thursday with retailers, police, the district attorney and probation departments. “People are scared to go into these stores — seniors, people with disabilities, children. It’s just happening brazenly. We can’t just as a city throw up our hands and say this is OK. We have to come up with solutions.”

And more to the point, drug stores, groceries, and small retailers are closing rather than let these organized crime theft rings strip them bare.

According to today’s New York Times:

At a board of supervisors hearing last week, representatives from Walgreens said that thefts at its stores in San Francisco were four times the chain’s national average, and that it had closed 17 stores, largely because the scale of thefts had made business untenable.

And yes, the crime was organized:

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.

“We’ve had incidents where our security officers are assaulted on a pretty regular basis in San Francisco,” Dugan said.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle:

The cost of business and shoplifting led Walgreens to shut 17 locations in San Francisco in the past five years — an “unpopular and difficult decision,” Jason Cunningham, regional vice president for pharmacy and retail operations in California and Hawaii, said at the hearing. The company still has 53 stores in the city.

Theft in Walgreens’ San Francisco stores is four times the average for stores elsewhere in the country, and the chain spends 35 times more on security guards in the city than elsewhere, Cunningham said.

At CVS, 42% of losses in the Bay Area came from 12 stores in San Francisco, which are only 8% of the market share, Brendan Dugan, director of organized retail crime and corporate investigations, said at the hearing.

So now it’s empty storefronts and fleeing residents in a city supposedly in a boom. The leftists in charge decided that there were so many, they’d try to tax them. That hasn’t stopped the flight.

Meanwhile, the poor old people who can no longer get their medications easily, or the Asian-American shopkeepers, assaulted by organized criminal gangs for trying to protect their merchandise, are significant victims. Nobody leftist cares about them. San Francisco’s rabid-left district attorney, Chesa Boudin, adopted son of Bill Ayers, failed to show up for an event to support an assaulted Asian-American shopkeeper just the other day, going full weasel.

The reality, though, is that San Francisco’s voters are largely to blame. They bought into left-wing flapdoodle from activists about shoplifting being a victimless crime and busts of thievery being hard on black thieves. Along with the rest of the state, they helped pass Proposition 47, which lowered the threshold for prosecution for shoplifting to figures above $950. What happened then was that any thievery below that threshold was effectively legal and free, which is why the shoplifting has surged and the criminal gangs have moved in.

Think of that $950, a figure that sounds so small to stupid voters, yet amounts to a gargantuan profit opportunity. Think of how hard a storekeeper might work to sell a $7.95 magazine, or a $2 piece of beef jerky. They’re struggling to earn pennies legally, while organized crime is making profits in $950 increments, free for the taking. No wonder businesses are closing up shop. Much easier to steal than earn anymore, might as well pack up and move to some other city where rule of law remains.

Like the unguarded border, the unguarded shops became free-for-alls with the most muscular and violent criminals eventually taking control. Now they’ve got crooks, not shops, in that city, and people terrified to go to the stores. Add to it defunding the cops for good measure, the Ferguson effect, and people not bothering to report crimes anymore and it’s an unfolding disaster. Sound like a model? It’s the model every Democrat in Congress is pushing for the rest of the country. San Francisco can’t be helped until the voters get wise to this.

The rest of the country, though, should take that city as a cautionary example.

UPDATE: This article has been updated to clarify that Prop. 47 was a statewide change.