Armed security guards and police were present in every corner at San Francisco's Union Square on Black Friday.
The increase in security is in response to last week's organized mass retail theft that made national headlines and left some shoppers and business owners on edge.
Some shoppers on Friday said the plywood decorated storefronts and heavy police presence made it hard for them to get into the holiday spirit.
"You expect to find holiday decorations," said Yousre, a tourist from Paris who visited Union Square on Friday. "It's sad."
Get a weekly recap of the latest San Francisco Bay Area housing news. Sign up for NBC Bay Area’s Housing Deconstructed newsletter.
Businesses said the recent rash of thefts across the Bay Area have left them no other choice but to take precautions.
"We're just limiting how many people are allowed to come in the store at once," said Jeffrey Chery, a manager for DITA.
Police officers are also doing their part to help get these stores and shoppers back on their feet. They've increased their presence significantly and are collaborating with private security companies hired by stores.
"I mean you walk around Union Square and you literally see an officer in every corner," San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott said.
Some shoppers said they feel safe now, but once it gets dark they'll think twice before coming to Union Square regardless of police presence.
"You never know what can happen," Yousre said.