Viral Videos From S.F. Spark Effort To Double Down On Fighting Retail Theft

“When we see these things go viral,” Scott said, “the perception of lawlessness, the perception that anything goes — it has to be overcome, too. People fear crime when they see it go viral.”

Scott and Mayor London Breed recently sought to tamp down growing perceptions — fueled in part by viral videos — that San Francisco is a chaotic, lawless city. They said statistics show crime rates similar to pre-pandemic levels.

Major retailers like CVS, Walgreens and Target have complained in recent months that persistent theft by organized crime rings in San Francisco has severely damaged their businesses, and even forced store closures. The retailers so far have provided little independently verifiable information about the thefts being organized, or exactly how many are occurring.

Walgreens recently closed 17 stores in San Francisco — though it’s unclear how many would have shuttered anyway after the pharmacy chain announced 200 store closures nationwide in 2019.

Critics have argued that the lack of information about reported thefts helps fuel fears about crime that translate into more money for police agencies and harsher jail sentences.

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Newsom signed into law a bill extending a program that allows the California Highway Patrol to operate regional task forces to fight organized retail theft with other law enforcement agencies.

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The governor signed the bill during a news conference in Long Beach after meeting with the mayors of the state’s 13 largest cities and police chiefs, including Scott. He vowed to commit more resources to an existing program that expired July 1, but didn’t specify how much extra has been included in the CHP budget for the campaign.

“We are doubling down on those efforts,” Newsom said, adding that the organized thefts take place across the state. “We have all seen those videos of people rushing in, those organized efforts — and they are organized.”

CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray said one of the largest anti-retail-crime busts in the past three years was done in cooperation with San Francisco, and recovered $8.1 million in stolen merchandise.

Michael Cabanatuan is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: Twitter: @ctuan

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Activist U.S. Supreme Court Makes It Official, Were Now The Corporate States of America

Source:The Brad Blog

Activist U.S. Supreme Court Makes It Official, Were Now The Corporate States of America