Bay Area Residents on Edge As Crime Rates Spike

Bay Area Residents on Edge As Crime Rates Spike

( – Pharmacies serve a vital role in their respective neighborhoods. Many people rely on them for cold medicines, basic medical supplies, and life-saving prescriptions. Unfortunately, like any retail store, they’re prone to theft. However, criminals in San Francisco have taken it to a new level with an organized crime ring that’s allegedly responsible for the shutdown of several Walgreens stores in the area.

On Tuesday, October 12, Walgreens announced it would shut down five retail stores in The Golden City. According to Phil Caruso, a spokesman for the company, theft is the main reason for the closures. He said the current crimes occurring in San Francisco are “… five times our chain average.” Even security isn’t helping matters. Citizens are on edge and speaking out about the problem.

Analysts attribute the increased theft to Prop 47, legislation passed in 2014 that re-classified shoplifting to a misdemeanor from a felony as long as the total of goods stolen remained under $950. While the intention was to free up police resources to focus on more violent offenders, the closure of several stores in the area proves it has backfired tremendously. It’s not uncommon for shoppers to find empty shelves in the shops due to theft.

Not everyone is just standing by and watching this happen, though. Ahsha Safaí, a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, thinks more security will deter would-be thieves, even with the lesser criminal charge. He introduced legislation, similar to 10B, that would allow the sheriff’s office to serve as security guards.

The city is currently fighting to keep the stores from closing, but without drastic changes to the criminality of theft, there’s no real deterrent — and shoplifters know it.

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