Today in ‘People congratulating themselves for doing their job,’ the San Francisco police announced they’ve been running a secret anti-shoplifting operation since late November, and have nabbed 60 retail theft suspects in the process.

It’s no secret that SF Mayor London Breed wants to make downtown shoppers feel safer for the holidays, after last year’s Thanksgiving-time Union Square flash-mob robberies created a holiday headache of terrible national publicity. And so as KRON4 informs us today, SFPD has been running a retail theft prevention operation since late November, and on Friday morning, SFPD sent a release to numerous news organizations touting how the operation has nabbed and charged dozens of shoplifters.

“Starting in late-November 2022, the San Francisco Police Department Burglary Unit began conducting a retail theft abatement operation at multiple locations in San Francisco that has resulted in 60 arrests to date,” SFPD says in the release. “These theft abatement operations are conducted at different retail businesses including department clothing stores, grocery stores, and pharmacies. These operations have resulted in 13 felony bookings, over 47 misdemeanor citations, and they will continue.”

Both Mayor Breed and DA Brooke Jenkins are tooting their horns over this operation, as seen above and below. The Chronicle reports that “police officials offered few details on how the operation worked.” And that’s wise, because many of these heists are indeed organized retail theft rings, not just low-level operators. But the Chronicle also has the additional information that “Spokespersons for Safeway and Gap Inc. confirmed that their respective stores participated in the anti-theft operations.”

“Safeway is looking forward to continue partnering with San Francisco law enforcement leaders to ensure the safety of our customers and employees,” Safeway spokesperson Wendy Gutshall told the Chronicle. “Maintaining a safe and welcoming shopping experience at our stores is critical for us to remain operating in the city.”


As seen above, larceny theft is up slightly in San Francisco in 2022 compared to 2021. So the crackdown is certainly welcome news. But this crackdown also leads to the question… Why haven’t they been doing this all along? It has been documented before that SFPD has a dismally low arrest rate, and I’d say we’re paying those officers pretty darned well. That said, if there is some new focus on results in the department, most of us would welcome that development.

And in that holiday spirit, we’ll note that in their press release, SFPD adds that “We encourage victims and witnesses of thefts to call 9-1-1 for a crime in progress. If you have information of a crime that occurred, you can call the non-emergency line (415) 553-0123. “

Related: Half of All Reported SF Shoplifting Incidents in One Month Came From the Metreon Target [SFist]

Image: Octoferret via Reddit