SAN FRANCISCO – Following the Walgreens store chain announcement that five of its stores in San Francisco were shutting down due to retail theft, city supervisor Ahsha Safai said on Tuesday that he hoped that the legislation he had recently proposed would prevent stores from closing other locations.
According to Walgreens, next month it will close its locations at 2550 Ocean Ave., 4645 Mission St., 745 Clement St., 300 Gough St., and 3400 Cesar Chavez St.
“Due to ongoing retail organized crime, we have made the difficult decision to close five stores across San Francisco,” Walgreens said in a statement Tuesday.
“Organized retail crime continues to be a challenge facing retailers across San Francisco, and we are not immune to it. Retail theft from our San Francisco stores has continued to increase in recent months to five times our chain average. 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, ”the company said.
Hearing the news, Safai said the closures would have serious consequences for children, families and the elderly, many of whom obtain their prescription drugs from Walgreens pharmacies.
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“I am completely devastated by this news. This closure will have a significant impact on this community. This Walgreens is less than a mile from seven schools and has been a staple for families and children for decades,” a- he said of the Mission Street location. “The city must act with a sense of urgency to reduce and deter the number of retail theft incidents.”
Safai has worked with Walgreens and other retailers to find solutions to the rampant and increasingly brazen retail thefts that are occurring across the city.
Two weeks ago, Safai introduced legislation that would amend the city’s administrative code to allow sheriff’s deputies to contract with businesses, private events and community benefit districts to provide security. Under the law, private companies would pay MPs overtime at no cost to taxpayers.
San Francisco Sheriff Paul Miyamoto supports the legislation.
“With the recent increase in property crime in San Francisco, the San Francisco Sheriff’s Office (SFSO) is ready to do its part to keep our communities safe,” said Miyamoto. “Our office and our members support legislation that will allow OFS staff to be present in stores and businesses to keep everyone safe and reduce the opportunities to commit crimes. It is important to help keep stores in our community for access not only to retail outlets, but to pharmacies and the medical services they host or provide. “
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In addition to the proposed legislation, Safai has also convened a Retail Theft Task Force, which includes Police Chief Bill Scott and District Attorney Chesa Boudin and will make policy recommendations.
Additionally, last month Scott and the Mayor of London Breed announced a series of new initiatives to tackle retail theft, including the expansion of the Police Department’s Organized Crime Unit and the recruiting more retired police officers to patrol neighborhoods.
With all five Walgreens locations shutting down next month, Walgreens said each store will automatically transfer prescriptions to another nearby Walgreens location within a mile radius and patients will be notified by mail. Additionally, the company said it would place employees at the closure sites at other nearby sites.