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California Has a Shoplifting Problem So Bad Some San Francisco Stores Have to Close Down – What’s Going On?

SOURCE: YouTube video screenshot

New York Times journalist Thomas Fuller told a grocery store clerk that he was new in San Francisco and wondered, “Is it optional to pay for things here?”

To anyone else that must sound like a nonsensical thing to ask, but the journalist explains in an article published on May 21 that he was compelled to question it after he witnessed people walking into a Walgreens and a Safeway only to grab things and walk out. The journalist also said that it’s only gotten worse in recent times and it’s now so bad it’s forcing some businesses to have to close their doors.

“Representatives from Walgreens said that thefts at its stores in San Francisco were four times the chain’s national average and that it had closed 17 stores, largely because the scale of thefts had made business untenable,” Fuller reported.

CVS told Fuller that San Francisco has become “one of the epicenters of organized retail crime.” He noted that the pharmacy retail chain has reduced its security guards’ shoplifting enforcement because it’s become too dangerous for the guards and everyone else involved.

At this point, you’re probably scratching your head wondering what the heck is happening?

And if you can believe it, the people of California did it to themselves. Back in 2014, there was a ballot referendum that the voters passed. That referendum, among other things, lowered the theft of property under $950 in value from a felony to a misdemeanor charge. Because of that, shoplifting skyrocketed. There’s usually no prison time for a misdemeanor so thieves figure it’s worth it to take something and walk out of the store without paying for it. Think of how many homeless people living on the streets of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s district can now feed themselves whenever they want. They just walk into a store, pick out what they want, give the welcome to California middle finger salute, and off they go.

From the California Courts:

Proposition 47 implemented three broad changes to felony sentencing laws. First, it reclassified certain theft and drug possession offenses from felonies to misdemeanors. Second, it authorizes defendants currently serving sentences for felony offenses that would have qualified as misdemeanors under the proposition to petition courts for resentencing under the new misdemeanor provisions. Third, it authorizes defendants who have completed their sentences for felony convictions that would have qualified as misdemeanors under the proposition to apply to reclassify those convictions to misdemeanors.

Felony convictions resentenced or reclassified as misdemeanors under the proposition are considered misdemeanors for all purposes, except that such relief does not permit the person to own, possess, or have in his or her custody or control any firearm.

“It has become part of the landscape,” local politician Ahsha Safaí commented about the shoplifting. “People say, ‘Oh, well, that just happens. [Thieves] are obviously choosing locales based on what the consequences are. There are no consequences for their actions, then you invite the behavior. Over and over.” It’s the Broken Windows Theory come to life. Broken Windows Theory says if you allow broken windows on buildings in a neighborhood to go for a period without being fixed, it invites a criminal element to believe they can commit crimes there because no one cares enough to fix the windows. In this case, when you no longer stop people from shoplifting, criminals notice it and they commit the same shoplifting offenses.

This is not confined to just San Francisco, it’s going on in other places in California.

A study concluded that in Santa Monica, crimes that were not downgraded by a ballot referendum fell by 9%. However, crimes that were downgraded spiked up 15%. A separate analysis noted that across the state, larceny thefts increased by 9% since the 2014 referendum.

You don’t have to be a member of Mensa International to realize what’s happening. When the government neglects to protect property rights, something property owners pay for in taxes, criminals learn that the government isn’t going to penalize them for those crimes and they react like criminals. When the situation gets so bad that guys like me living out on the east coast notice it enough to write a story about it, the problem is so bad that no one is going to want to invest in opening a business there. That ends up with a lot of stores closing, which means a lot of people lose their jobs and a lot of people can no longer purchase the things they need in their neighborhood.

It’s almost as if the Democrats in California are appeasing the criminal demographic for votes. When politicians see that crime is taking a toll on their communities and they don’t do anything about it, it’s time to vote them out of office or vote with your feet and move to a state that doesn’t have that problem.

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