Walgreens Closures Continue in San Francisco

Alpha8472
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Walgreens Closures Continue in San Francisco

Post by Alpha8472 »

Another Walgreens in San Francisco is closing due to out of control shoplifting. It is estimated that at least $1,000 in merchandise is stolen every day. This is the 8th Walgreens to close since the beginning of 2019.

It is terrible that the employees are not allowed to stop shoplifters. Calling the police will not do anything. They will never show up, unless people are being shot dead in the store.

Some of these shoplifters are crazy. There was a group of people grabbing merchandise and putting it in huge cloth bags. They threw merchandise at employees while they stole. After exiting the store the employees locked the doors. Then the group decided that they wanted more merchandise and tried kicking the door down. The police never came.

This is insane. Ever since the law was changed to make shoplifting of $950 worth of merchandise a misdemeanor in California.

https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/ ... 659279.php
Last edited by Alpha8472 on October 20th, 2020, 4:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Walgreens Closures Continue in San Francisco

Post by veteran+ »

Pretty awful this is happening!!

But it is not safe for employees to stop anyone.

There have been some tragic results from that activity. Employees being shot, knifed and the like (including myself).

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Re: Walgreens Closures Continue in San Francisco

Post by klkla »

Alpha8472 wrote: October 20th, 2020, 3:37 am
This is insane. Ever since the law was changed to make shoplifting of $950 worth of merchandise a misdemeanor in California.

https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/ ... 659279.php
It sounds like SFPD is part of the problem here. Maybe because of budget cuts? Their not showing up when called wouldn't have anything to do with changes in the law. The current law still allows stacking of charges as described in the article and gang activity as felonies.

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Re: Walgreens Closures Continue in San Francisco

Post by Alpha8472 »

If Proposition 20 passes, stealing more than $250 in property can be prosecuted as a felony. Things may be changing for the better soon.

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Re: Walgreens Closures Continue in San Francisco

Post by storewanderer »

klkla wrote: October 20th, 2020, 11:54 am
It sounds like SFPD is part of the problem here. Maybe because of budget cuts? Their not showing up when called wouldn't have anything to do with changes in the law. The current law still allows stacking of charges as described in the article and gang activity as felonies.
SFPD runs a $700 million budget and has added hundreds of new officers over the past decade. Its budget has been growing. So have the problems in San Francisco- at a rate the police budget has not kept up with despite their best efforts.

However as of last July/August the city leadership has proposed cutting $120 million from the SFPD Budget.

Walgreens is likely cutting its losses now knowing things will probably get worse before they get better.

What is interesting is historically Walgreens has run stores in some pretty tough neighborhoods. There are reasons why Walgreens Stores are designed how they are. Those boxy Walgreens pharmacies with a little window for the drop off and a small counter for pick-up and the rest walled off? That is to make the pharmacy more secure. Locking doors into restrooms, stockrooms, pharmacies, etc. have been standard in Walgreens Stores for many years now, long before being standard in stores of other chains. It seems like in recent years the company has cut down on security and thinks "locking shelves" will solve their theft problems in tough neighborhoods.

Walgreens still has a saturation of stores in San Francisco.

Walgreens opened the door to this brazen theft in its stores by eliminating or severely cutting security and undercover loss prevention. Under no circumstances should normal customer service employees apprehend or chase a shoplifter. But it is not cost effective to pay for these positions in such small stores is another challenge unless the stores are extremely high volume. What needs to happen is Walgreens consolidate into fewer high volume stores which will do enough volume to be able to pay for the necessary security measures to deter this sort of activity from taking place in its stores.

Oh by the way- do you know how you accumulate multiple thefts by the same individual to get up to that $950 amount that allows them to press charges? You use facial recognition software that folks have been calling out as a privacy invasion (like Target does and like Rite Aid did previously) to record the theft incidents across days/across stores to accumulate that data and have the data required to press charges. The shoplifters know they won't be apprehended at the store as the stores have no security and know they won't punished under current CA Laws which is why why they are so comfortable engaging in this activity.

These criminal retail theft rings know what stores to target and what stores not to target (and Target is definitely on the "not" list due to its heavy use of the facial recognition software and strong ability to accumulate theft cases then prosecute along with its retail forensics facilities in MN and also in Las Vegas) and there is a reason they target Walgreens.

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Re: Walgreens Closures Continue in San Francisco

Post by klkla »

storewanderer wrote: October 20th, 2020, 6:04 pm Oh by the way- do you know how you accumulate multiple thefts by the same individual to get up to that $950 amount that allows them to press charges?
If loss prevention is doing their job they will still do an incident report and ID the suspect. if the person is a repeat offender they will have the reports which can be combined into a felony charge.

However, you don't have to press felony charges. Assuming the police will actually arrive, which I guess is not the case here, you can still do misdemeanor charges. The reason the felony amount was increased is to relieve the burden on the courts and to ease jail crowding over petty offenses.

A lot of people will learn their lesson the first time they get busted and not have to have a felony on their record for a relatively small offense. But the rules are still in place to make a felony charge against repeat offenders and organized criminals.

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Re: Walgreens Closures Continue in San Francisco

Post by storewanderer »

klkla wrote: October 20th, 2020, 7:14 pm If loss prevention is doing their job they will still do an incident report and ID the suspect. if the person is a repeat offender they will have the reports which can be combined into a felony charge.

However, you don't have to press felony charges. Assuming the police will actually arrive, which I guess is not the case here, you can still do misdemeanor charges. The reason the felony amount was increased is to relieve the burden on the courts and to ease jail crowding over petty offenses.

A lot of people will learn their lesson the first time they get busted and not have to have a felony on their record for a relatively small offense. But the rules are still in place to make a felony charge against repeat offenders and organized criminals.
That isn't really how you catch the biggest theft rings and build a case against them. The basic incident report/ID recording process works okay when the same loss prevention agent keeps catching and detaining the same person on a concealed item 3 times in a row at the same store location over a one month period. But that means loss prevention had to actually detain the person at least once to build the initial case file and get their ID. Then multiple loss prevention agents at multiple locations will have to observe the same behavior and eventually all of the data gets compiled. That can work but it is a long shot.

When you have multiple stores/multiple loss prevention agents the facial recognition software is the key that enables them to easily identify past suspects the moment they enter the store. Then a case is built against them for each visit they engage in thefts (or the visit they don't engage in theft but do something like, I don't know, buy liquor and show ID, the loss prevention knows they are there and can get their ID through the camera without the individual even knowing it). The suspect does not even know what is going on- they think they are getting away with the thefts. They get away with the theft today, tomorrow, next month even. Every theft, a case is being built. The irony is the thief becomes more and more comfortable engaging in theft the more times they do it, and do not get stopped, so this helps to build an even bigger case against the thief for when they finally target (no pun intended) them for a felony charge. They also have ways of identifying the person without detaining them (license plate number, have a plainclothes agent follow them home, etc.).

Folks can be critical of the facial recognition software due to the private issues surrounding it, however, it promotes more effective tracking of thefts and it is also much safer for the store staff as well as other customers as it prevents those chases from happening at the physical store location. There is no chasing anyone and pinning them against the front wall to bring back in to be detained and questioned. No risk of any weapons use by any party involved as part of the detaining process since there is no detaining process until the police report is filed. There is no call to the police until charges are being formally filed as which point the store already knows the individual's address and license plate and who knows what else and can turn that information over to law enforcement to handle the process of notifying the individual they have been caught.

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Re: Walgreens Closures Continue in San Francisco

Post by veteran+ »

"However as of last July/August the city leadership has proposed cutting $120 million from the SFPD Budget."



AND............................reallocating THAT money to respond to problems by OTHER professionals better suited to deescalate issues.

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Re: Walgreens Closures Continue in San Francisco

Post by klkla »

Modern loss prevention has the incident reports on a database where they can piece together people that have had multiple incidents and combine the charges.

Facial recognition is just another tool. I'm not against it but we should make sure there are rules and regulations in place to make sure that the rights of American citizens are not violated by this emerging technology.

And even if retailers are adding this tool to their arsenal they still have to do the basic leg work of putting the incident reports together.

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Re: Walgreens Closures Continue in San Francisco

Post by storewanderer »

klkla wrote: October 21st, 2020, 1:52 pm Modern loss prevention has the incident reports on a database where they can piece together people that have had multiple incidents and combine the charges.

Facial recognition is just another tool. I'm not against it but we should make sure there are rules and regulations in place to make sure that the rights of American citizens are not violated by this emerging technology.

And even if retailers are adding this tool to their arsenal they still have to do the basic leg work of putting the incident reports together.
Yes- modern loss prevention databases can hold data that describes a person. Sex, age estimate, hair color, eyes color, approximate height, approximate build type, any facial markings etc. But broad descriptions can fit a lot of people, without citing a common example. There are a lot of people in the same age range, same sex, same general height, etc. But if this person is going to multiple stores and shoplifting, let's face it, there are a lot of people who would fit the description of male, 20's, brown hair, brown eyes. Age descriptions are very subjective I have found also. So it is like playing a round of darts for stores to trace people to multiple incidents in those databases who they have not yet detained or gotten ID from, but the facial recognition helps build a more certain case so someone is not falsely accused. Modern loss prevention databases can also hold photo images of a person who stole (without the facial recognition) to help make identification more certain... but if we are maintaining photos of people who stole what is wrong with another step of loading that photo into the facial recognition database and alerting loss prevention the next time that individual comes into the store so they can be targeted (no pun intended) to be monitored closely during future visits.

As I have said it takes many, many incidents before the shoplifter gets targeted (again no pun intended) with the use of facial recognition software. If you aren't doing anything wrong, there is nothing to fear with this software. As long as the software is being used solely to "track those who have already stolen something" that is as far as it should go in my opinion. If the software is used to target a certain age/sex/hair color/skin color as "likely thief" with zero past history on that specific individual then the software is discriminating and that should not be legal.

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