While a recent video showing a man stealing multiple items from a San Francisco Walgreens has sparked concerns of a citywide shoplifting surge, according to the data, overall shoplifting incidents reported to the police are below their levels before the start of the pandemic and before that shoplifting rates had been decreasing more or less steadily since the 1980s, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. The city saw 710 reported shoplifting incidents in the first four months of 2021, down from 933 during the same period in 2019. Shoplifting has been declining in the city since 1985, according to data from the California Department of Justice.
However, at a recent Board of Supervisors meeting, police officers said that shoplifters are getting more brazen, and shoplifting incidents are likely under-reported. The police department data shows that there were 91 incidents of shoplifting involving “force against an agent,” classified as robberies in the system, in the first four months of 2021, a slight decline from 108 instances in the first four months of 2020 and 102 in 2019. Officers also said that thieves had been emboldened by the passage of Proposition 47, a statewide initiative that reclassified certain theft and drug possession charges from felonies to misdemeanors, including shoplifting of items under $950.