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New San Francisco initiative aims to curb retail thefts

San Francisco is launching a new initiative aimed at curbing the spike in retail theft incidents.

Mayor London Breed joined Police Chief Bill Scott Wednesday at the San Francisco Police Department headquarters to announce the Organized Retail Crime Initiative. The plan will:

  • Triple the number of community ambassadors on the streets
  • Add three investigators to the SFPD’s Organized Retail Crime Unit
  • Dedicate a lieutenant to work with the California Highway Patrol’s Organized Retail Crime Task Force  
  • Strategically manage “10B” off-duty police officers who work privately for retailers
  • Expand the Teleserve Unit that allows retailers to report thefts by phone 

A future upgrade is expected that will allow retailers to report thefts online.

Breed said during the press conference that neighborhoods ultimately suffer consequences of retail theft, adding: 

“When the pharmacies decide, ‘We’re going to close in this neighborhood because we have too many challenges with theft,’ the seniors and folks who depend on the medications of those pharmacies, they lose. The community loses.”

The mayor said the community not only loses a valuable resource, but community jobs are also lost when stores permanently close.

The police chief the department expects to see an increase in retail theft reporting, which he views positively.

Scott said:

“That’s not a bad thing because it gives us the opportunity to have number one good data to begin with. Secondly, to know where to put our resources because we don’t know what we don’t know.”

Breed said that while The City is compassionate and supports criminal justice reforms, she warns would-be criminals not to confuse those attributes with weaknesses.

The mayor said:

“When a crime is committed in this city, when you cross that line, there will be consequences.”

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