With stores closing and reducing operating hours in San Francisco, the mayor and police chief are promising a crackdown.
Big retailers aren't the only ones dealing with theft -- small businesses are getting hit too. The owner of Hot Cookie on Polk Street said several successful break-ins and attempted break-ins have cost them tens of thousands of dollars.
Videos of people running out of department stores and drug stores with fists full of valuable merchandise have gone viral, and now have the attention of the mayor.
“We can't continue to allow lawlessness to dominate our city and have an affect on closures and people feeling unsafe,” said Breed.
The mayor and police chief announced the organized retail theft unit will go from two officers to six.
And the police department is hiring more retired officers to walk neighborhoods.
“We can't take the financial hit because of these burglaries,” said Hot Cookie owner Ryan Jones.
He hopes the focus on retail theft will help stop a costly cycle of burglaries and thefts at small businesses like their Polk Street Store.
“Opened in February of last year and in that time five successful break-ins, several attempted break-ins and other property damage to our windows and doors,” said Jones.
At The Gallery of Jewels in Noe Valley, the sign on the boarded up windows says thieves broke in on Labor Day -- the third burglary since the beginning of the pandemic.
Business owners say the break-ins are financially and emotionally draining.
“How is this gonna disrupt my business? What did they take? Is everyone safe? Is someone still here? Is my safety a concern?” said Jones, who hopes the police department’s new plan makes a difference.