A growing rift between Target corporate crime policies and law enforcement was highlighted by Sacramento County Sheriff and former Assemblyman Jim Cooper during the weekend, who said that Target has been asking law enforcement not to arrest people in stores despite being called out over multiple crimes occurring inside.
For several years, Target, like most other retailers in California, has struggled with crime. Stores in urban settings have resorted to using glass cases in the aisles that can only be opened by employees to deter shoplifting. At others, more enhanced forms of security have been developed. Most retail stores, including those other than Target, have also instilled rules that prevent intervention by employees during robberies because of possible problems that can occur, and leaving the matter largely to security or police. And, despite the extraordinary precautions, Target has still closed many stores, primarily in the Bay Area, because of the massive amount of crime.
However, criminals going after Target and the numerous arrests have caused some negative PR for the company. Many with Target, as well as other retail locations, also fear a national backlash when video of people arrested for shoplifted are made public. They also want to avoid shootings or major injuries, such as a security guard shooting and killing a thief who threatened to kill him at a San Francisco Walgreens earlier this year. As a result, many stores have put in policies that don’t allow law enforcement to make arrests in stores.
This policy has met both public and law enforcement backlash. While many members of the public are concerned with possible police brutality when arrested people, many others have said that this is a major way to help deter crime and punish those breaking the law. Law enforcement members have, in turn, pointed out that the policy hinders their efforts in controlling crime and that many criminals operate entirely within the store. Examples of the latter include stealing a product then simply returning it later on, all without stepping foot outside the store where police are.
The situation hit a head in Sacramento County this weekend where, after Sheriff Cooper was told by Target not to arrest people inside their stores because of negative press, despite being called out there in the first place. On X, Cooper let the public know about the situation, calling the entire ordeal “Unbelievable”.
Cooper tweets out
“Recently, we tried to help Target,” tweeted the Sheriff. “Our Property Crimes detectives and sergeant were contacted numerous times by Target to help them with shoplifters, mostly who were known transients. We coordinated with them and set up an operation with detectives and our North POP team.
“At the briefing, we were told by their head of regional security that we could not contact suspects inside the store; we could not handcuff suspects in the store; and if we arrested someone, they wanted us to process them outside… behind the store… in the rain.
“We were told they didn’t want to create a scene inside the store and have people film it and put it on social media. They didn’t want negative press. Unbelievable.
“Our deputies watched a lady on camera bring in her own shopping bags, go down the body wash isle, and grab a bunch of Native body washes. Then she went to customer service and return them! Target chose to do nothing and simply let it happen. Yet somehow, locking up deodorant and raising prices on everyday items we need to survive is their best answer. We don’t tell big retail how to do their jobs, they shouldn’t tell us how to do ours.”
I can’t make this stuff up. Recently, we tried to help Target. Our Property Crimes detectives and sergeant were contacted numerous times by Target to help them with shoplifters, mostly who were known transients. We coordinated with them and set up an operation with detectives and… pic.twitter.com/2TJCXApGMs
— Jim Cooper (@SheriffJCooper) November 9, 2023
Target has yet to respond to Sheriff Cooper’s post. However, the story began gaining national traction during the weekend, which will likely prompt a response from the company soon.
Security experts told the Globe on Monday that companies cannot keep operating in wanting to reduce crime but then asking the law enforcement members who do come to not make a scene and then conduct all their business outside.
“First off, let’s not villainize Target or any other store here,” said Frank Ma, a former law enforcement official who now works as a security advisor for businesses in San Francisco and cities in the Peninsula, to the Globe. “They have been facing a lot of stress and frustration at the rampant crime going on. And then when they do something about it, social media attacks them or the media tries to make a victim out of the criminal. We need to understand that.
“That’s why they don’t want police in their stores making arrests or spending a long time in a single place inside. It attracts people, and people take out their phones and record. But this also hinders the police a lot. I mean, you can’t go after a suspect inside a store? You can’t handcuff them inside? What if they get violent? What if they escalate crimes inside? This is a big hindrance. Crime in Sacramento isn’t as bad as San Francisco, but that doesn’t mean they can handle it either all on their own.
“You can understand why Target is saying this, but it will practically only help the criminals. When you call the police or the Sheriff, let them do their job. It’s that simple.”
As of Monday afternoon, Target has not yet commented on the tweet by Sheriff Cooper.
- Former Google Executive Lexi Reese Drops Out Of 2024 Senate Race - November 29, 2023
- Gov. Newsom Announces A New $300 Million Block Of Funding For Homeless Encampment Removal and Housing - November 28, 2023
- Garvey, Early, and Bradley: Where The Endorsements Will Go - November 28, 2023