A CNN film crew watched the same San Francisco pharmacy be robbed three times in just half an hour. During a segment on crime in the city, correspondent Kyung Lah personally witnessed the robberies at the Walgreens outlet.
The correspondent called the issue “so typical that in the 30 minutes we were at this Walgreens, we watched three people, including this man, steal.”
The reporter added that a number of items, including mustard, had to be locked up.
The store in the city’s Richmond district has the single-worst theft rate of all of the retail giant’s 9,000 locations.
The news segment showed a number of sections of the store behind lock and key. For example, the frozen food section showed the freezers locked behind long chains. Other items were behind locked plexiglass barricades.
CNN interviewed a resident who called the current situation “more icing on the cake telling us that rampant crime has become a regular part of life.”
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
The next portion of the segment showed a man walking out with stolen goods.
San Francisco, like a number of American cities, has seen a sharp increase in crime in recent years. While the city has faced increased violent crime and theft since the riots following George Floyd’s death in 2020, the issue is much larger.
Some Republican critics point to California Proposition 47, passed in 2014, as a major catalyst. The proposition removed felony charges for shoplifting products under $950 in value.
Furthermore, a number of businesses reported similar issues as caught on CNN’s cameras. A number of stores in San Francisco and nearby Oakland have closed. Both cities struggle with increased crime and homelessness.
A number of retail locations have announced their closure in just the last year. San Francisco lost its Nordstrom outlet, a major movie theater, its AT&T flagship store, a brewery more than a century old and more.
In addition, San Francisco carries one of the heaviest tax burdens in the nation.