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San Francisco store escorts customers to deter shoplifting amid city’s crime epidemic

San Francisco store recently enacted a new rule that requires shoppers to be escorted by an employee in order to deter shoplifting amid the city’s surging crime epidemic.

Fredericksen Hardware and Paint, a longtime home improvement shop located in San Francisco’s Cow Hollow neighborhood, has adopted a new policy that it hopes will significantly reduce or eliminate retail theft.

The store’s manager, Sam Black, told KRON that the location is battling “rampant shoplifting.” Black, who has worked at the store for 24 years, says the theft is worse than ever.

“It’s pretty bad,” he said, referring to the crime surge. “I mean, the dollar amounts are pretty significant, and with the tools and now we’re getting snatch-and-grabs when they take whole displays, so it’s getting kind of dangerous for the employees and the customers.”

During certain hours of the day — two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening — the store will be blocked off, and customers must wait for a worker to escort them through the aisles. Shoppers will not be able to roam on their own during that time.

A sign at the front of the shop read, “Attention Shoppers: Due to the rampant shoplifting, Fredericksen has introduced a One-On-One shopping experience.”

“Wait here and a clerk will be right with you to help you with all your shopping needs,” it continued. “We’re sorry for the inconvenience!”

Staff believes that the new policy will separate customers from potential shoplifters. Black told the news outlet that the creative solution is worth trying to prevent additional loss.

“We just want to make it uncomfortable for the thieves so they go somewhere else,” Black stated.

He noted that the store’s staff had already drilled down pots and pans to prevent thieves from stealing the items. The shop has also installed locking systems to curb shoplifting tools and other hardware.

The escorting policy has been in place for three weeks, and Black plans to review the results after one month. How long the new rule will remain in place is still being determined.

According to Black, San Francisco residents “aren’t happy.”

“The regulars can’t believe it like we can’t believe it, but they’ve been really understanding,” he added.

City leaders and police have not been helpful in preventing the surge of retail thefts, Black remarked.

San Francisco supervisor Catherine Stefani stated, “This situation is tragic and embarrassing for our city, and it’s all the more reason to get serious about solving our police staffing crisis. We need more police on our streets, and we need them now. That’s why I’ll hold a series of hearings in March to push our city agencies to fill the hundreds of vacancies at the Police Department as soon as possible––to stop the bleeding, reverse the damage, and finally protect our residents and small businesses.”

Earlier this month, California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom announced that he would send 120 California Highway Patrol officers to Oakland and East Bay “to crack down” on the “alarming and unacceptable” crime wave. The governor also sent progressive Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price additional attorneys “to increase the capacity to prosecute suspects involved in violent crimes, serious drug-related crimes, and property crimes — including retail theft and auto burglary,” Blaze News previously reported.

A number of businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area, including Denny’s, In-N-Out, Black Bear Diner, Subway, and Starbucks, recently decided to close their doors, citing rampant crime. Meanwhile, other businesses, including Clorox Company, Blue Shield of California, and Kaiser Permanente, have implemented additional safety measures to address the ongoing crime issues.

According to San Francisco Police Department crime data, robberies increased 14.6% in 2023 compared to the previous year. Over that same period, motor vehicle theft increased by 6.1%, larceny-theft dropped by 11.6%, and burglary declined by 6.6%.

-The Blaze


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