This really isn’t a “new” story because it’s been going on for quite a while now, though you wouldn’t know it based on the paucity of mainstream media coverage it receives. The subject is Walgreens and the chain of drug stores they operate in California. The huge pharmacy chain has been slowly shutting down its stores across the state, most commonly in the San Francisco area. The reason for the closures isn’t a lack of business. It’s a popular outlet that still draws plenty of customers. But they’ve been getting cleaned out by shoplifters on such a regular basis that it’s become impossible for them to turn a profit. And now five more of these outlets will be closing their doors due to what they describe as “organized retail crime.” (NY Post)
Walgreens is closing five more San Francisco locations as drug stores from the Bay Area to the Big Apple are besieged by rampant shoplifting and lax enforcement.
San Fran shoplifters have been emboldened by a referendum that lowered the penalty for stealing goods worth less than $950 from a felony to a misdemeanor, cops and prosecutors have said.
A spokesperson for the company confirmed the latest closures to SFGate.
“Organized retail crime continues to be a challenge facing retailers across San Francisco, and we are not immune to that,” Walgreens spokesperson Phil Caruso told the outlet.
Walgreens had already closed 17 stores just in the San Francisco Bay area. This will bring the total to 22 and effectively end the brand’s presence in the region. As I already pointed out, this isn’t a new phenomenon. We reported last October that a string of drug stores had closed citing the same reasons. And it’s not just Walgreens or drug stores in general. Target has been shuttering some of its California stores. And smaller convenience stores have been facing the same fate.(Take a moment to look at some of the social media responses from leftists who think that Walgreens and these other large retail outlet chains “deserve it.”)
Walgreens has done what it could to try to curb this trend. They increased their investments in various security measures to a level 46 times their national average. But they were still experiencing retail theft at a rate five times higher than the chain average.
One member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors had the nerve to claim that he was “devastated” by the news. He pointed out that the Walgreens outlets that are slated to close are close to multiple school districts and are vital resources for families in the area. But we already knew that. CVS, Duane Reade and Rite Aid have all been experiencing the same thing.
But if you’re so “devastated” by the news, why don’t you speak up and address the underlying cause? It’s not as if it’s a mystery. Once California effectively decriminalized shoplifting of goods worth less than $950, making the offense a misdemeanor instead of a felony, the welcome mat was rolled out for organized gangs of thieves as well as individual junkies and other shoplifters. Since these are now considered “minor crimes” that don’t warrant bail, gang members and other criminals know that they can loot the stores at will. Store policies prohibit employees from trying to thwart these thefts out of fear of being accused of racism. And even if they do manage to get caught somehow, they will be back out on the street in under an hour, after which most of them will simply ignore their summons to appear in court.
Most of these stores report that insurance companies will no longer cover them against theft. Or if they do, they drive up the insurance premiums so high as to be unaffordable. (This also drives up the cost of everyone else’s insurance as well.) It’s not a sustainable business model when you can no longer expect the public to act in a civilized fashion and pay for their purchases.
California did this to itself. If they no longer have enough retail outlets to serve the needs of the public, consumers can place the blame squarely on the shoulders of the state legislature and the Governor. When you remove the disincentive to steal, plenty of people will be lining up to take advantage of the situation. This is a known pattern in society dating back far beyond the era of broken windows policing. Now we’re seeing it in the San Francisco Bay area (among others) on steroids. And just for the record, there is nothing “racist” about locking up thieves if they happen to be persons of color. You do it to show the rest of the thieves and the gangs that there is a price to be paid for acting in such a fashion. California decided to break that model in the name of “social justice” and now they are paying the price for it.