Earlier this month, a video surfaced showing a man filling a bag with items in a San Francisco Walgreens then exiting the store on his bike with the stolen goods as onlookers and a security guard filmed him. This is the latest evidence of a problem that retailers say is driving them out of the city. Now, some in the retail and grocery industries are demanding a focus on solving these types of crimes and harsher penalties for theft. We discuss the scale of organized retail crime in San Francisco, what communities it’s targeting, and what can be done about it.
Rachel: “This has been a problem going on for years. We have been diligently trying to find solutions to this including pending legislation to continue funding for the Organized Retail Task Force. We are trying to attack it from all different ways. Our priority is the safety of our employees and consumers. We can’t have our security guards going after this- they are not law enforcement.
ORC rings are recruiting juveniles, homeless to steal items and turn around into bigger crimes like human trafficking. That is what we are trying to stop. It’s a growing problem in our stores, online marketplaces and communities and we need elected officials and law enforcement to help the retail industry fight this issue.
It’s retailers that have taken the initiative to create and fund the Organized Retail Crime Task Force and it is retailers working to ensure the task force will be in this year’s budget. We welcome the opportunity to work with the folks in San Francisco to find solutions, protect quality of life and ensure people feel safe in the City.”
Ahsha Safai, District 11 supervisor, San Francisco Board of Supervisors
Rachel Michelin, president, California Retailers Association
Shirin Oloumi, assistant district attorney, San Francisco