City Mulls Ways to Deal With Westfield Mall Shoplifters

It may look fancy, but the Westfield shopping mall has an infestation problem. The pest? Shoplifters.

It's become so bad that police are thinking about setting up a permanent presence inside the mall. With nearly 200 stores, cops are summoned several times every day to deal with sticky fingers.

With a permanent station in the mall, police would be able to respond more quickly, and would also be able to deter theft, according to the San Francisco Examiner. Theft deterrence is sometimes not a top priority for private security companies, since a reduction in crime would put them out of a job.

Also under consideration is a plan to give shop owners the authority to issue citations. Other towns allow stores to assign suspects to court, which seems like it has the potential for abuse.

There's already a slew of security at the mall. Stores hire their own guards, while the mall management has its own private force to monitor hallways and common areas.

It's unclear who would pay for the police presence in the mall. If Westfield doesn't pay for the station, then taxpayers could foot the bill. The City is currently gearing up for big budget cuts, with Mayor Ed Lee asking departments to identify up to 20 percent of their budget to trim.

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