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Looters are running wild in San Francisco

Published Jul 6th, 2021 6:18PM EDT
San Francisco looting
Image: JFL Photography/Adobe

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Most of the footage that seems to have gone viral in recent days with any connection to San Francisco has tended to have one thing in common. Footage continues to multiply of San Francisco looting incidents, captured at major retailers around the city where brazen shoplifting episodes are on the rise.

One of the latest incidents happened Monday, around closing time at a Neiman Marcus location in Union Square, in the city center. The thieves smashed displays cases and grabbed items from racks. They then raced out the door with armfuls of designed handbags, and into waiting cars. The incident was particularly bold, because it happened during a busy part of the day. And the group of robbers, police said, included at least nine or ten people.

San Francisco looting

As you might imagine, footage of the looting has fed a particular narrative in recent days among right-wing figures. They argue that lawlessness is on the rise in populous cities, which tend to be led by Democrats. And also, that such lawlessness is allowed to thrive because of a too-permissive attitude toward crime.

The crime is out of control, “and it’s happening in many cities all across the country.” That’s according to right-wing commentator Sean Hannity a few days ago, per a transcript of one of his recent broadcasts.

The new San Francisco looting comes a few weeks after footage of a similar episode at Walgreens went viral. It showed a man on a bicycle loading up a bag with items stolen from inside the Walgreens store. He was allowed to leave, and people watched him go. Including at least one person who looked to be a security guard.

Citing a Walgreens regional vice president, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that the retail chain spends 35x more on security guards at its stores in the city than anywhere else in the US. Also, that theft from San Francisco Walgreens stores is 4x higher than anywhere else.

Target is another chain that looters have hit hard. In fact, the situation is so bad that Target decided to close its locations there at 6 pm every day, instead of 10 pm. “With the safety of our guests, team members and communities as our top priority, we’ve temporarily reduced our operating hours in five San Francisco stores,” reads a statement from the company.

Additional stats

Beside all this, the San Francisco Police Department said last month that auto burglaries are on the rise, too. In the city’s Central District, they’re up about 139%. Car break-ins are also soaring. They’ve exploded by 750%, especially in San Francisco’s tourist hotspots.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.