San Francisco hardware store establishes new way to shop to counter shoplifting

Leftist lawlessness forced retailers to find new methods to combat theft as employees lamented their fears.

“I don’t want to be here, I am scared.”

(Video: KRON 4)

Between the Black Lives Matter-backed Defund the Police movement and George Soros-funded prosecutors securing offices across the nation, crime without consequence has emboldened ne’er-do-wells and opportunists alike.

Now, after corporate outlets had either locked up their goods or locked up for good, local businesses are having to follow suit as a security expert told Fox News Digital, “We are advising retailers to implement certain security procedures.”

“Several high-end luxury retailers are now putting in place chaperones or screeners, as we call it, who are basically screening shoppers when they come in, either granting them access to a store, or restricting their access, and following them around the store,” said security expert Patrick McCall.

After 24 years working at San Francisco business Fredericksen’s Hardware and Paint, manager Sam Black told KRON 4 about the measures he was taking and why.

“It’s pretty bad. I mean, the dollar amounts are pretty significant, and with the tools and now we’re getting snatch-and-grabs when they take whole displays, so it’s getting kind of dangerous for the employees and the customers,” he said.

Having resorted to blocking part of the entrance and having an employee work with each individual customer, Black explained, “We just want to make it uncomfortable for the thieves so they go somewhere else.”

The store also began using locking devices on display hooks to prevent pilfering and remarked, “Yeah, people aren’t happy. The regulars can’t believe it like we can’t believe it, but they’ve been really understanding.”

On the opposite coast, 784 Hardware store owner Robert Morales in the Bronx told The City, “We have groups who come in and grab stuff and run. And we have people who come in and wait for the store to get busy and take power tools.”

He too had to limit customer access, forcing guests to wait near the entrance while only one or two people were allowed to shop.

“People used to try to hide the fact they were stealing and you could deter them by watching. Now people walk in, take a couple of items and walk out the door,” expressed Deborah Koenigsberger of Noir et Blanc clothing store in Manhattan.

“It’s really bad for morale,” she said to The City about having to have three employees on the clock when not busy whereas once she had only one. “People say, ‘I don’t want to be here, I am scared.'”

She also recounted how an officer had told her, “We are sorry, but even if we catch them we will have to let them go.”

“The fact is lack of laws and the new bail reform laws — these crimes aren’t being prosecuted and the reward outweighs the consequences for offenders,” said McCall to Fox News Digital. “As a security expert, we are advising retailers to implement certain security procedures, including limiting the number of stock items on a sales floor that is readily available for these individuals to take.”

“As an attorney and psychologist who has worked with the Stoplift program (remediation for shoplifters), and observed the increase in shoplifting crime, it is obvious that prosecution must be followed through,” Dr. Jean Cirillo suggested to Fox News Digital.

More often than not, reports of rampant retail theft have shown the stores close up and leave blue cities or employees faced with termination for stepping in to do the work of law enforcement.

“Shoplifters now realize that the consequences will be minimal if they are caught,” Cirillo added as recidivism rates have gone up. “They will probably be released immediately, and not prosecuted, especially in larger cities, such as New York, where the crime has taken a serious upward turn.”

“We need that when we call law enforcement they come on time and arrest these people,” added Morales.

According to the National Retail Federation’s 2023 security survey, retailers suffered $112.1 billion in theft and other inventory losses in 2022 and the top five worst cities for organized retail crime were Los Angeles, San Francisco/Oakland, Houston, New York and Seattle.

Kevin Haggerty


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