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Safeway the Latest San Francisco Chain Store to Reduce Hours Over Crime Wave

‘Boudin broke the Castro’

By Evan Symon, November 1, 2021 3:56 pm

A Safeway supermarket in the Castro District of San Francisco just announced that it would be going from a 24/7 operation to closing early at 9 PM in an effort to deter shoplifters, becoming the latest chain store to make drastic changes in the city’s current retail crime wave.

According to a Safeway spokeswoman, the store will also be removing self-checkout lines as well as other operational changes due to the thefts.

“As an ongoing effort, we evaluate and adjust our store operations based on a variety of variables that impact our operations,” said Safeway spokeswoman Wendy Gutshall during the weekend. “We recently modified the Castro Safeway store hours of operation to close at 9:00 p.m. due to an increasing amount of theft at the store. We have also made some operational changes to the front end of the store to deter shoplifting.”

Like most other retail stores in the city, the Castro District Safeway has made other anti-theft changes to the store in the past, including moving all of it’s shopping carts indoors during the summer following 160 carts being stolen in a few weeks.

For the past several years, many businesses have had to rely on increasing the number of anti-theft measures deployed in stores, or outright moving out of the city together. In the last two years, this problem has accelerated with chains like Target and Walgreens removing handfuls of heir stores from the city due to the crime rate.

Locals, as well as many storeowners, have largely blames the passage of Prop 47 and Chesa Boudin being elected as District Attorney. Proposition 47, which passed in 2014,  increased the felony threshold rate for theft in retail establishments to over $950, with lower misdemeanor thefts having jail time limited to a maximum of  6 months. Chesa Boudin, sworn in as DA in early 2020, instituted a policy of not prosecuting most criminals, as well as focusing on prosecuting more police officers. Combined, this led to a huge rise in crime that forced retailers to take the situation into their own hands.

A continuing crime wave in the City by the Bay

Although stores and citizens private security companies, proposed city legislation, and a recall effort against Boudin have all been implemented to help reduce crime and replace current criminal policy, the lack of any of options available now is continuing to spur closures and hour reductions.

Following the Safeway announcement, City Supervisor Rafael Mandelman noted that The Church and Market Safeway is one of few affordable grocery options for people living in and around the Castro. A reduction in their operating hours will make it harder for working people to get groceries for themselves and their families, and will have a huge impact on the lives of the store’s employees whose hours will be cut. Shoplifting at this location is out of control and I have met with Safeway to better understand the issues at this store. I am convening a meeting with the SFPD and District Attorney’s office to see what is currently being done to deter theft at Safeway, and to figure out a plan to do better.

“I think like a lot of retailers they’ve been experiencing increasing property crime and theft from their stores. I think the last 6 months from what they say has been sort of – off the charts in terms of how bad it’s been. It’s sad, upsetting and frustrating. It’s an equity problem. There’s a lot of low-income folks, seniors, folks with disability, who rely on that Safeway and other Safeways around the city.”

On Monday, Castro District residents agreed that the Safeway was one of the few remaining affordable options, and were outraged at the cut hours.

“It’s one of the last reasonable places to get groceries by foot,” explained Charles Cavanaugh, a resident of the Castro for 50 years. “And it serves a lot of working people who can only shop there by night.”

“We’ve witnessed a lot of change here through the years. The Castro was a bastion for the gay community in the 70’s with Harvey Milk and everyone, was one of the few places to get help for AIDS in the 80’s, held out on the dotcom boom in the 90s, was revitalized in the 00’s, and held out again for the 10’s tech boom. The Castro has always held its ground. Except for now, where stores are now doing this instead of the people going against this new threat.”

“Boudin broke the Castro.”

More store closures and reduction in hours announcements are expected in the coming weeks and months at other businesses in the city.

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11 thoughts on “Safeway the Latest San Francisco Chain Store to Reduce Hours Over Crime Wave

  1. Considering CA Globe was very wrong about their story claiming SF Target was closing down, this site might want to check their facts. Would not be surprising to hear from Safeway very soon strongly denying the Globe’s story.

      1. the 225 Bush store was really terrible – it was an awkward location and it never had much inventory. the 1830 Ocean store was a new development that didn’t have any parking in a neighborhood that wasn’t dense enough and was on a really slow train line. Neither was a good store – nothing to do with crime.

    1. The Globe was not wrong about the Target story. First, the Globe broke the news that the Bush-Sansome store was closing. That is not in dispute and Target PR acknowledged it. Second, you’re referring to the fact that the SF Chronicle called Target PR, which denied that the Mission St store was closing. The Chronicle then printed Target spokesperson verbatim and did zero additional reporting. Quoting a corporate spokesman verbatim and speaking to no one else is not journalism, it’s stenography. The Globe story interviewed multiple police officers, on site and on tape, contained tons of information beyond the simple closing of that store, spoke to workers there, and included twelve photographs. The fact that some consider the Chronicle’s lazy and feckless trumpeting of corporate PR to be “real journalism” says more about liberal media’s lock on defining what news is than it does about the actual facts.

  2. San Francisco is becoming a food and retail desert because of the Democrat cabal’s inane far left policies which are driving out private businesses out of the city?

  3. This is a totally fake story – I lived near that Safeway for two decades. Here’s the deal: It’s on a PRIME piece of real estate and they want to redevelop it as luxury condos. The city won’t permit it because it will take an important affordable supermarket away, which makes sense – so they have to create tretext to close it and not just have another supermarket move in. The obvious answer: it’s “not viable as a supermarket.” Trust me – there’s no shoplifting problem there. I was in and out of that Safeway hundreds of times.

    1. “Trust me – there’s no shoplifting problem there.” This represents the strangest phenomenon occurring in San Francisco progressive circles. When corporate PR says that unprecedented shoplifting is closing its business—such as when Walgreen’s closed first 17 and then 5 additional stores, or here with Safeway—they are not to be believed. But when corporate PR says they’re not closing because of shoplifting—such as when Target denied the Globe’s reporting on the imminent closing of the Mission St store, even though the Globe correctly broke the story that the Bush-Sansome store would be closing—then corporate PR speaks ex cathedra and must be trusted. Pretending there’s not a shoplifting crisis – despite constant photos and videos and an open air market at 16th and Mission where the shoplifted goods are fenced – is not a solution.

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