Another all-day grocery store in San Francisco has been forced to close early due to inordinate shoplifters, joining many other retailers that have to change their operating hours to avoid excessive nighttime thievery.
Fox Business reported the Safeway grocery in the Castro neighborhood of San Francisco cut more than a third of the working time, now closing from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. instead of operating 24 hours a day as before.
Shoppers felt inconvenienced by these decisions, saying that many customers shop later at night than during the day.
“I feel like it’s definitely an inconvenience, not everybody can make it to the supermarket between those hours, so it’s a little frustrating, especially for me personally. I like to shop later on,” a Castro resident said.
San Francisco Supervisor Rafael Mandelman described the changing hours of Safeway as an equity problem.
“I think like a lot of retailers they’ve been experiencing increasing property crime and theft from their stores,” he said. “There’s a lot of low-income folks, seniors, folks with disability, who rely on that Safeway and other Safeways around the city.”
Mandelman, an American attorney and politician, added that he is discussing ways to tackle the criminals with the local police and Safeway leaders.
Mandelman revealed that Safeway employees told him that police rarely make arrests for a property crime when they make it to the scene. At the same time, offenders know they will not face any serious consequences, so they continue their “stealing business.”
The Castro Safeway decision comes less than a month after pharmacy retail giant Walgreens announced closing some stores in San Francisco due to organized retail theft and insufficient enforcement from the Bay Area to the Big Apple. One Walgreens store in San Francisco reported losing $1,000 to theft a day and closed last year.
“I think the last 6 months from what they say has been sort of—off the charts in terms of how bad it’s been. It’s sad, upsetting, and frustrating,” a Walgreens spokesperson said.
In September, San Francisco announced new initiatives to crack down on the rampant shoplifting, including increasing the staffing of the police department’s Organized Retail Crime Unit and updating the department’s reporting system to allow businesses to report thefts more easily online.
According to San Francisco Mayor London Breed, retail theft and commercial burglaries were not victimless crimes.
“They hurt working families due to reduced work hours, shuttered stores and lost jobs. They hurt customers and seniors who are losing convenient access to prescription medications and vaccinations because of pharmacy closures. They hurt neighborhoods suffering from fewer local retailers and more empty storefronts,” she said at the time.