A spokesperson for Target confirmed that stores in San Francisco are now closing early and are moving hours from 7 or 8 a.m.–10 p.m. to 9 a.m.–6 p.m. A financial district store will close as early as 5 p.m. on Saturday, according to the company’s website.
The reason why, according to a spokesperson for the corporation, is because of an increase in shoplifting.
“For more than a month, we’ve been experiencing a significant and alarming rise in theft and security incidents at our San Francisco stores, similar to reports from other retailers in the area,” the spokesperson told KPIX-TV over the weekend. “Target is engaging local law enforcement, elected officials, and community partners to address our concerns.”
The spokesperson then said that “with the safety of our guests, team members and communities as our top priority, we’ve temporarily reduced our operating hours in six San Francisco stores.”
Other than San Francisco, Los Angeles and Sacramento have also been hit hard by organized retail crime in recent months, says the California Retailer’s Association. Due to the increase in thefts, a number of stores have been forced to close early or are permanently shutting down.
Walgreens, has already closed several San Francisco stores or reduced hours due to thefts. Managers in some locations have told security guards not to physically engage with individuals who are shoplifting.
“I don’t have any intention of getting stabbed for $60 worth of stuff,” security guard Kevin Greathouse told KGO-TV. “It’s going to be lawsuits, obviously they don’t want ourselves or anybody else to get injured while we’re out here attempting to make these apprehensions and leave it to law enforcement.”
Target’s decision to reduce hours doesn’t come as a surprise, said Rachel Michelin, president of the California Retailers Association, “because we’ve seen other retailers close in San Francisco.”
“I’m actually proud of the fact that they are trying to hold on and keep the stores open,” she added. “There comes a point—with what we have shared with the elected leaders of the city—where these types of decisions have to be made,” said Michelin. “The bottom line is when these employees don’t feel safe coming to work. That’s when they have to take these drastic measures.”
San Francisco is No. 5 in the nation for retail theft, while Los Angeles is No. 1, according to the Retailers Association.
Some police groups have blamed local district attorneys for enabling criminal behavior because of lax bail reform laws.
San Francisco Police Officers Association head Tony Montoya last month criticized District Attorney Chesa Boudin for enabling “criminals-first” policies. Others, including Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon, have faced similar pushback.
“Chesa Boudin has made it clear that you’re more likely to get a stern talking-to than a cell when it comes to most crimes committed in our city and the criminals know it, are taking advantage of it, and we’re all suffering because of it,” Montoya said in a statement.
The Epoch Times has contacted both Walgreens and Target for comment.