San Francisco mayor denies Walgreens store closures over crime

San Francisco Mayor London Breed this week began pushing back Walgreens’ announcement to close five more stores in San Francisco due to widespread retail theft. Now the San Francisco media are helping the mayor “sell” his program.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported:

Data released by the San Francisco Police Department does not support Walgreens’ reported explanation that it is closing five stores due to organized and widespread retail theft.

One of the stores on the verge of closure on Ocean Avenue has reported just seven shoplifting incidents this year and a total of 23 since 2018, the data shows. While not all shoplifting is reported to the police, the five stores scheduled to close have averaged less than two shoplifting thefts per month since 2018.

At least the Chronicle admitted that not all shoplifting is reported to the police. Of course they are not, and retail traders tell everyone that. Anything valued under $ 950 is just a misdemeanor in California, thanks to Governor Brown and state lawmakers pushing and enacting a number of initiatives that have gutted the criminal justice system , notably AB 109 which weakened parole, Proposition 47 which has downgraded a multitude of crimes – including theft under $ 950 – to misdemeanors, and Proposition 57 which made dangerous criminals eligible for release when they had served only part of their sentence.

Walgreens was unequivocal in a press release this week, about the level of crime their stores have endured, as The Globe reported:

According to Walgreens, theft levels in the city have increased up to 5 times the national average for the store while security measures have increased 46 times the chain average to maintain the security of both the store and the stores. buyers.

“Organized retail crime continues to be a challenge facing retailers in San Francisco, and we are not immune to it,” Walgreens spokesman Phil Caruso said Tuesday. “Retail theft from our San Francisco stores has continued to increase in recent months to five times our chain average. Meanwhile, to help combat this problem, we have increased our investment in security measures in city stores to 46 times our chain average in an effort to provide a safe environment. “

“Due to ongoing retail organized crime, we made the difficult decision to close five stores in San Francisco. Each store will transfer prescriptions to a nearby Walgreens store within a one mile radius and we plan to place store team members in other nearby locations.

Earlier this year, Target announced it would close six of its branches in San Francisco to curb what has become rampant shoplifting, the Independent reported.

And in May, Walgreens announced that it had closed 17 stores in its Bay Area stores with so uncontrollable shoplifting and thefts. “The move came after a store – located at 30th Street and Mission Streets – had 16 major shoplifting incidents between November 2020 and February 2021,” he added. Independent reported.

There is no accounting for all the unnoticed and unreported thefts that occur in stores until inventory is taken.

“But the timing of Walgreens’ decision made observers question whether a $ 140 billion company was using an unsubstantiated account of uncontrolled shoplifting to mask other possible factors in its decision,” said the Chronicle. reported.

“They say (shoplifting is) the main reason, but I also think one place isn’t generating income and it’s saturated – SF has a lot of Walgreens locations all over town – so I think there are other factors that come into play, ”the Mayor of London Breed told reporters last week.

The Chronicle says that four years ago, Walgreens announced to its shareholders that it planned to close 600 stores across the country.

If Walgreen stores were profitable in San Francisco, they wouldn’t close five more, for a total of 22 closings for whatever reason. Walgreens never announced which stores would be closed. It is an economic decision.

“So is Walgreens closing stores because of theft or because of a pre-existing business plan to cut costs and increase profits by consolidating stores and moving customers to purchasing by line ? San Francisco supervisor Dean Preston asked the Twitter, again denying the rampant crime.

A Walgreens spokesperson told the San Francisco KPIX 5 By Wednesday night, those (cost) reductions were already completed before the announcement of the new San Francisco closures.

The power of denial is palpable. Denial is a psychological defense mechanism that can lead to real and lasting devastation. Denial is the refusal to recognize the existence of an unpleasant reality.

Welcome to San Francisco.

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