Walgreens to Close More San Francisco Stores Over Retail Theft Concerns; Says They Are Not Immune to It
Walgreens had announced on Tuesday that they are closing five San Francisco stores in California effective next month. According to The Daily Wire report, the pharmacy store chain said they had made the difficult decision due to their concerns over ongoing retail theft.
Walgreens spokesman Phil Caruso said that organized retail crime continues to be a challenge facing retailers across San Francisco. He added that they are not immune to that.
Caruso also noted that they increased their investments in security measures in stores across the city to 46 times their chain average, all in an effort to provide a safe environment.
The company's spokesman also said that retail theft across their San Francisco stores has continued to increase in the past few months.
San Francisco Supervisor Ahsha Safai said in a tweet that the closure will significantly affect the community, adding that they are completely devasted by the news.
Safai said that the Walgreen store that will be closed is less than a mile from seven schools and has been a staple for seniors, families, and children for decades.
He noted that the city needs to act with a sense of urgency to reduce and deter the number of incidents of commercial retail theft.
Retail Theft in San Francisco
Law enforcement officials have said that much of the city's retail crime was caused by organized theft rings, according to a San Francisco Chronicle report.
Public defenders and social justice advocates have argued that many people were charged with retail theft alone, adding that many of those were suffering from poverty, homelessness, and substance abuse.
An SF Chronicle analysis noted that shoplifting had dropped dramatically at the start of the COVID pandemic. However, it also gained momentum in the summer of 2020 as stores reopened.
Shoplifting incidents by April of this year were still well below pre-pandemic rates.
Walgreens announced plans to close about 200 stores across the U.S. to help cut costs in their security investments based on a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. However, the company did not divulge the locations of the stores they were eyeing to close.
Jason Cunningham, Walgreens' regional vice president for pharmacy and retail operations, said that theft at the chain's San Francisco stores was four times the average of stores in other parts of the country. Cunningham manages the operations in Hawaii and California.
A spokeswoman for Chesa Boudin, the San Francisco district attorney, said that the office had been working with the California Highway Patrol and ALTO to prosecute shoplifting cases, according to The New York Times report.
The closures will bring the number of Walgreens stores that have been closed in San Francisco to 22.
Meanwhile, employees at the five San Francisco stores closing in November will be employed at other Walgreens locations, while customers will have their prescriptions transferred to a nearby store.
San Francisco Police Department had arrested on June 19 a man that was showing in a shoplifting video. He was identified as Jean Lugo-Romero.
This article is owned by Latin Post.
Written by Mary Webber
WATCH: Walgreens to Close 5 San Francisco Locations Due to Continued Crime - from NBC Bay Area
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