EDITOR NOTE: San Francisco police haven’t quite been “defunded” in protest against the rising tide in police brutality across the nation, but they've been effectively “defanged.” It all started in 2014 with Proposition 47, a referendum lowering the penalty for stealing goods worth less than $950 from a felony to a misdemeanor. The outcome: theft went “viral.” Car break-ins at hot tourist spots are up 750%. Brazen midday looting forced Walgreens to close 17 of its stores. And now, Target is closing around 6 of its store locations in the Bay Area due to increased theft. The rising crime trend in the City by the Bay gives its residents some reprieve, as violent crimes have been sinking significantly. If anything, the phenomenon shows how the city's liberal policies have made theft somewhat profitable on a “petty” level--as it indirectly protects thieves at the expense of the city’s businesses. It also serves as a stark warning to other municipalities and counties across the Golden State in general, should they choose to go down that road. California--a largely liberal and high-tax state--might also learn a thing or two from the negative consequences of left-leaning policies that, however deliberately or inadvertently, have only served to heighten economic disparity.
Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento are among the cities with the most organized retail crime in the country, according to the California Retailer's Association. As a result, stores have been closing early or permanently shuttering.
Target stores in San Francisco are now closing early, moving from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., with a Financial District store closing as early as 5p.m. on Saturday, according to hours listed on its website. Most stores open between 7 and 8 a.m. until 10 p.m.
Target told KPIX5 the decision to adjust its store hours in San Francisco was related to theft with a spokesperson confirming: "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.
"Target is engaging local law enforcement, elected officials and community partners to address our concerns. 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."
Operators in the grocery and retail industries have also raised concerns about harsher penalties for theft. A video surfaced from earlier this month showing a man stealing items in a San Francisco Walgreens and leaving the store on his bike with the goods as security guards and onlookers filmed the incident.
"This has been a problem going on for years. We have been diligently trying to find solutions to this, including pending legislation to continue funding for the Organized Retail Task Force. We are trying to attack it from all different ways. Our priority is the safety of our employees and consumers. We can’t have our security guards going after this – they are not law enforcement," CRA President and CEO Rachel Michelin said in a statement.
Walgreens, as a result, has also closed several stores with some security guards reportedly told not to engage with shoplifters.
"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," Kevin Greathouse, a security guard at a San Francisco-based Walgreens who carries a handgun, taser and pepper spray, told ABC 7 News.
Greathouse told the news outlet he has not had to use the weapons to protect himself, however, he says he has been threatened with a knife by people committing theft in the stores.
"I don't have any intention of getting stabbed for $60 worth of stuff," he told ABC 7 News.
Original post from Fox Business