Walgreens Closures Continue in San Francisco

storewanderer
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor
Posts: 5896
Joined: February 23rd, 2009, 3:54 pm
Been thanked: 17 times
Contact:
Status: Offline

Re: Walgreens Closures Continue in San Francisco

Post by storewanderer »

veteran+ wrote: October 21st, 2020, 5:33 am "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.
Police are the first responders to a shoplifting case. Therefore, support for shoplifting calls will be cut further with this cut of $120 million from that police budget.

Retailers will be impacted by this $120 million cut to the SFPD Budget if it goes through.

When you have problems and cannot respond to all of them, you don't cut budgets. You add money to the budget. Whether you want to add additional new money to the police budget or add additional new money for "other professionals better suited to deescalate issues" to in turn free up the police from some of those issues to better address these shoplifting issues is the question. Maybe in time you can cut some budgets but to get these programs to work you need to add new money not cut money from police that are already stretched thin and unable to respond to shoplifting calls.

storewanderer
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor
Posts: 5896
Joined: February 23rd, 2009, 3:54 pm
Been thanked: 17 times
Contact:
Status: Offline

Re: Walgreens Closures Continue in San Francisco

Post by storewanderer »

One closure in Berkeley too. Unclear if this had theft problems or just not enough customers.

https://www.berkeleyside.com/2020/10/21 ... ue-closure

Alpha8472
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor
Posts: 1736
Joined: February 24th, 2009, 8:55 pm
Been thanked: 3 times
Status: Offline

Re: Walgreens Closures Continue in San Francisco

Post by Alpha8472 »

This Berkeley location was very busy with customers and long lines. It is Berkeley, so it has to be a homeless shoplifting magnet.

San Francisco, Berkeley, and Oakland are notorious for policies that attract homeless encampments and shoplifters.

veteran+
Veteran Member
Veteran Member
Posts: 558
Joined: January 3rd, 2015, 7:53 am
Has thanked: 30 times
Been thanked: 7 times
Status: Offline

Re: Walgreens Closures Continue in San Francisco

Post by veteran+ »

storewanderer wrote: October 21st, 2020, 8:11 pm
veteran+ wrote: October 21st, 2020, 5:33 am "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.
Police are the first responders to a shoplifting case. Therefore, support for shoplifting calls will be cut further with this cut of $120 million from that police budget.

Retailers will be impacted by this $120 million cut to the SFPD Budget if it goes through.

When you have problems and cannot respond to all of them, you don't cut budgets. You add money to the budget. Whether you want to add additional new money to the police budget or add additional new money for "other professionals better suited to deescalate issues" to in turn free up the police from some of those issues to better address these shoplifting issues is the question. Maybe in time you can cut some budgets but to get these programs to work you need to add new money not cut money from police that are already stretched thin and unable to respond to shoplifting calls.

NO NO NO NO NO NO.......that is not what is going to happen. Reallocation will not defund resources to respond to shoplifting. Money to address shoplifting will stay the same albeit not enough in the first place.

It is not wise to conflate..................sorry to say.

storewanderer
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor
Posts: 5896
Joined: February 23rd, 2009, 3:54 pm
Been thanked: 17 times
Contact:
Status: Offline

Re: Walgreens Closures Continue in San Francisco

Post by storewanderer »

veteran+ wrote: October 22nd, 2020, 4:32 am

NO NO NO NO NO NO.......that is not what is going to happen. Reallocation will not defund resources to respond to shoplifting. Money to address shoplifting will stay the same albeit not enough in the first place.

It is not wise to conflate..................sorry to say.
Shoplifting is a crime- once the concealment happens and the customer is out on the sidewalk that is a crime. Once a crime is committed the police are the ones who respond to that crime. I get deescalation but once a crime has been committed that is the arena of the police to come and address. You can work with the person and try to help them to not shoplift in the future but since a crime has been committed you need the police there. I am certainly not saying you can't add some other professional to help deescalate the situation or get the thief some other help but the fact is they committed a crime, the fact is the store will prosecute, and those two factors mean you need police. So you cannot cut police funding and expect the same response to shoplifting. You can add additional funding for more police so they can actually respond to calls and/or add additional funding to bring other professionals along to deescalate, yes.

Think of that in a retail context if you take a department's hours or position's hours and "reallocate" 20% of those hours to some other department that does not have the same powers or abilities. It would be like cutting out 20% of the dollars for key carrying assistant managers who are trained to operate any department in the store and reallocating that 20% of dollars to hire more courtesy clerks who are 16 years old, cannot touch cash, cannot run a slicer, baler, etc. You get more bodies but they cannot do as much. But, if you kept the assistant manager budget the same AND hired more courtesy clerks then you'd have a better running store...

veteran+
Veteran Member
Veteran Member
Posts: 558
Joined: January 3rd, 2015, 7:53 am
Has thanked: 30 times
Been thanked: 7 times
Status: Offline

Re: Walgreens Closures Continue in San Francisco

Post by veteran+ »

I think I know the business pretty well having been a district manager (and other corporate assignments) for two big chains on both coasts.

Employees are advised by "smarter" companies for several reasons to NOT apprehend. There is physical safety concerns and frivolous/legitimate lawsuits by alleged shoplifters against the retailer.

Unfortunately that puts pressure on police to respond in a timely manner, which currently does not work.

Companies sometimes hire "security" firms to better mitigate the situation, with mixed results. Others hire off duty cops that may work better.

The proposition to defund is about reallocating parts of the budget to different professionals or retrained professionals for handling domestic issues and other issues that could be about psychological disturbances.

It is not about reducing the budget that handles crime or shoplifting. I would agree that there probably is not enough money to directly handle shoplifting. The de-escalation is about social-psychological-medical-temper-rage type disturbances not shoplifting.

klkla
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor
Posts: 1489
Joined: February 24th, 2009, 3:26 pm
Has thanked: 2 times
Been thanked: 10 times
Status: Offline

Re: Walgreens Closures Continue in San Francisco

Post by klkla »

storewanderer wrote: October 21st, 2020, 8:05 pm 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.
When detaining someone for shoplifting you are going to get an ID. If not you will hold them until the police do show up no matter how long that takes. They might come quicker if you explain that the person seems agitated and you're afraid they might become violent. It's also a good idea to explain that you might be willing to let them go if they confess to everything they have done and sign an affidavit that can be sent to the insurance company.

You would be surprised what good LP employees can do. In one of your earlier posts you alluded to the fact that a lot of companies simply don't want to pay for their own LP anymore. They want to make the local police their defacto LP and deflect the charges to the tax payer.

storewanderer
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor
Posts: 5896
Joined: February 23rd, 2009, 3:54 pm
Been thanked: 17 times
Contact:
Status: Offline

Re: Walgreens Closures Continue in San Francisco

Post by storewanderer »

klkla wrote: October 23rd, 2020, 7:24 pm
When detaining someone for shoplifting you are going to get an ID. If not you will hold them until the police do show up no matter how long that takes. They might come quicker if you explain that the person seems agitated and you're afraid they might become violent. It's also a good idea to explain that you might be willing to let them go if they confess to everything they have done and sign an affidavit that can be sent to the insurance company.

You would be surprised what good LP employees can do. In one of your earlier posts you alluded to the fact that a lot of companies simply don't want to pay for their own LP anymore. They want to make the local police their defacto LP and deflect the charges to the tax payer.
I am talking when you target someone for shoplifting but opt not to detain them. Rather you let them go without saying a word to them, and build a case on them over time if they come back. This is what the facial recognition allows for. For stores that have cameras all over that actually record, if they suspect theft but did not see the theft take place, they can literally go back in the camera system and re-play the tapes and try to re-trace the customer's steps through the store to prove theft took place after the fact. This is what sophisticated retailers have done in lieu of having LP agents sitting in a dark room watching live cameras and getting ready to pounce on a shoplifter as they run out the door.

It is really tough to physically detain someone. Absolutely not something normal store employees or management should be expected to do under any circumstances.

I know full well what good LP employees can do under the old "rough" watch and chase process, especially if they can work in a team (one on camera, one on the floor following the thief). I worked with one in the past who was an ex-police officer who made catches all the time but my favorite was a time when he chased a shoplifter who was a frequent visitor but was really good at playing games to stop from being detained (dropping items next to the exit as they were about to detain him, etc.) 1/2 mile from the store, was on the phone with us as he was doing the chase, and had us back at the store call the police to follow them. That was a long time ago and the police knew us and actually responded. I always wondered if the chase off property was within policy but nothing happened to the LP agent after and he worked there after I left.

Going back to my experience with the watch and chase process, then looking at how more sophisticated loss prevention departments target (no pun intended at all) repeat offenders and keep letting them shoplift without approaching them but building a case and then press charges on them when they least expect it, with zero physical contact at the store, no customers watching someone getting detained as they go in/out of the store, no danger to the employees of a risk of a shoplifter pulling a weapon on an employee during the detention process, no waiting for the police to come or not come, this is why I am so positive on the whole facial recognition thing.

But it is tough for a small store like a Walgreens to have such a sophisticated system in place.

I also agree stores should not rely on the local police to be defacto LP. That is another beauty of the facial recognition - you don't call the police physically to the store. You go straight to filing a police report and the police will go straight to the shoplifter's place of residence or court papers will be delivered to the shoplifter.

I have also worked in high theft environments where there was a "no chase" policy, no LP in the store, but certain employees/managers took it into their own hands to go chase shoplifters anyway. Until there is a lawsuit, nothing happens to stop it. I was never interested in chasing anyone, since policy says don't chase, that is the policy I will stand behind as it keeps me safe. Or where a security guard is hired to stand by the front door to deter theft. None of that worked- empty packages all the time all over the place. Eventually after I moved on, numerous locking shelves were installed to the point where you couldn't get much of anything off the shelves. That was sloppy because someone wanted something out of a locking shelf and the employee would go and unlock the shelf and give it to the customer. Then the employee went back to whatever task they were doing. That was a joke and still resulted in many empty packages from what I was told, plus resulted in many upset paying customers due to wait times to unlock the shelves. No facial recognition software there. Would have been great.

So this is the problem when you have 9,000 stores like Walgreens has. Many, the majority of, locations have little to no theft problem. There are probably less than 300 high theft locations in the entire chain. You can pay for robust software and camera programs for theft prevention, you can try security guards, locking stuff up, etc. but when the majority of your stores don't have a problem it is hard to spend much money I guess.

Sounds like a repeat of the factors in the 80's where so many grocery chains abandoned poorer neighborhoods due to high theft... easier to go operate in the suburbs in better neighborhoods that do not have so many issues; by the mid 90's you had all these "food deserts" all over the country... it seems many chains prefer to just flat out not operate in these types of high theft environments for the sake of their image, safety of their employees, and perception from customers.

Alpha8472
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor
Posts: 1736
Joined: February 24th, 2009, 8:55 pm
Been thanked: 3 times
Status: Offline

Re: Walgreens Closures Continue in San Francisco

Post by Alpha8472 »

A man steals from Walgreens as TV crew reports on a story on shoplifting:

https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/ ... 670720.php

He jumps over the counter and steals an air bed. The shoplifter then escapes on an electric scooter.

This is outrageous. However, it is best not to intervene as a friend told me of how a homeless guy stole a machete from a store that he worked at. Then on the news there were some slashing attacks by a deranged homeless man. There are some crazy homeless people out there. Stores should rethink what items they sell in stores. You do not need to sell machetes in the sporting goods section at drugstores. What profit does it give to the store if these items are used to attack store employees?

klkla
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor
Posts: 1489
Joined: February 24th, 2009, 3:26 pm
Has thanked: 2 times
Been thanked: 10 times
Status: Offline

Re: Walgreens Closures Continue in San Francisco

Post by klkla »

storewanderer wrote: October 23rd, 2020, 11:25 pm I am talking when you target someone for shoplifting but opt not to detain them. Rather you let them go without saying a word to them, and build a case on them over time if they come back. This is what the facial recognition allows for. For stores that have cameras all over that actually record, if they suspect theft but did not see the theft take place, they can literally go back in the camera system and re-play the tapes and try to re-trace the customer's steps through the store to prove theft took place after the fact. This is what sophisticated retailers have done in lieu of having LP agents sitting in a dark room watching live cameras and getting ready to pounce on a shoplifter as they run out the door.
How many times do you allow them to get away with stealing before you finally confront them? You're never going to know who they actually are until they're detained. Personally I think it is better to have a trained LP agent confront them first and let them know they're on the radar. Facial recognition can still work to alert LP if the same customer returns to any of the company's stores. FWIW the supervising LP agents can do this from corporate office and do not need to drive out to every store like in the old days.

Facial recognition is going to be important with another more common type of theft situation: Self checkout.

A lot of people use the self-checkout because they know they can slip a few free items in pretty easily. Or they will buy the higher priced organic item and ring it up at the lower non-organic price or just some other random item. Once it's been determined that they are doing this you can program the system to require a manual override each time they use the self checkouts allowing an employee to audit their order and make sure it is rung up properly. Those people that are inclined to steal using this method will get frustrated and take their 'business' to another store.

Post Reply