In an expose that leaves one startled, a CNN film crew bore witness to the same pharmacy in San Francisco being pilfered thrice within a mere half-hour window. Amid a reportage focusing on the escalating crime in the city, reporter Kyung Lah found herself standing amid the rampant thefts at a Walgreens outlet.
In San Francisco, we went to the Walgreens that is the #1 spot for theft in all the 9000 US stores, per Walgreens. This is where chains once shut the freezer section. And we saw 3 thefts right in front of us. But across SF, coffee, mustard, nail polish– are all locked up: pic.twitter.com/IfYBVgpeI2
— Kyung Lah (@KyungLahCNN) July 25, 2023
In her account of the situation, Lah affirmed that it’s “so typical that in the 30 minutes we were at this Walgreens, we watched three people, including this man, steal.”
Adding to the absurdity of the scenario, she stated that even items as basic as mustard were safeguarded under lock and key.
Shattering records of infamy, the store, located in the city’s Richmond district, has the dubious honor of holding the highest theft rate amongst all of the retail conglomerate’s 9,000 branches.
The report exhibited parts of the store being secured behind lock and key – a sight strange and eerie in a supermarket. The frozen food section was seen with freezers bound behind extended chains. Other items were sequestered behind plexiglass barriers.
In an interview with a resident who described the situation as “more icing on the cake telling us that rampant crime has become a regular part of life,” the underlying dismay and fear were palpable.
The report further illustrated a man blatantly walking out with pilfered goods.
San Francisco, mirroring several American cities, has witnessed a severe surge in crime in recent years. The city has been grappling with increasing violent crime and theft, particularly since the riots triggered by George Floyd’s death in 2020. However, the problem extends far beyond this timeline.
Many conservatives criticize California Proposition 47, enacted in 2014, for acting as a catalyst for the present situation. The proposition decriminalized shoplifting of products valued under $950.
Moreover, several businesses have echoed the issues captured by CNN’s cameras. Numerous stores in San Francisco and neighboring Oakland have been shuttered, as these cities grapple with surging crime rates and homelessness.
A host of retail locations have announced their closure in the past year alone. San Francisco lost its Nordstrom outlet, a major movie theater, its AT&T flagship store, a brewery more than a century old, and more.
Adding to the woes, San Francisco has one of the most burdensome tax structures in the nation.