Written by Will Seykora
Multiple chain drug stores have announced closures in the San Francisco area following a massive crime wave plaguing the city. Stores such as Target, Walgreens, and 7-Eleven have either permanently closed stores or are changing their hours to curb the increase in petty theft following new crime policies.
San Francisco recently changed their definition of petty theft to mean stealing anything worth more than $950, yes $950. Below that police officers can’t stop or prosecute the thief for blatant acts of crime. This change was originally made in 2014 under Proposition 47.
Under Prop 47 if you’re caught stealing items worth less than $950, you’d be given a misdemeanor, not a felony. Due to this change cops can no longer arrest thieves, they can only write a citation and hope the accused show up to court.
However, this policy isn’t hurting large corporations. In fact, it’s doing the opposite. Many of the stores that have been forced to close have been franchises, meaning they are owned and operated by an individual or a family. Every time a thief walks out of the store with nearly $1,000 worth of merchandise the only people hurt are the business owners struggling to stay afloat after COVID.
Most large businesses are able to cover the costs of stolen goods, which is why many employees are instructed not to chase after thieves. With the surge in crime, 17 Walgreens have closed permanently.
Along with the permanent closures, many stores have adjusted their hours. For example, one 7-Eleven has decided to start doing business through a metal door at 10 p.m.. The manager of the store, Bobby Singh explained “This window was installed like two to three months ago because it was not safe. Sometimes they would break that glass of the door.”
It seems like San Francisco democrats have learned their lesson. When people are arrested many aren’t charged to the fullest extent, leading the theft to continue, Mayor London Breed stated, “The question is will this person be held accountable for what they did and that needs to be part of the equation as well.” The San Francisco DA’s office has also been given a tight deadline to find a solution to the problem by Supervisor Ahsha Safai. Safai told the police department and the District Attorney’s office to create a plan to reduce these crimes. They have a week to come up with and present their solution.