SAN FRANCISCO—The San Francisco Police Department announced on October 6 they launched a new citywide program to make arrests in organized retail theft cases by deploying blitz enforcement operations at local retail locations, Chief Bill Scott announced.

The operations are yielding result with officers arresting dozens recently and recovering thousands of dollars in stolen merchandise from San Francisco retailers.

The SFPD is planning on funding the rise in enforcement operations through a recently awarded $15.3 million state grant aimed at combatting organized retail crime. This work is possible because of the SFPD’s strong partnerships with our retail community.

“Our city will not tolerate criminals ransacking our businesses,” said Chief Scott. “Not only are these crimes devastating to our business community and local economy, too often we’ve seen these crimes escalate into violence. I want to thank our hard-working officers who are making sure our city is a safe place for businesses and shoppers.”

The most recent blitz operation occurred Tuesday evening at the San Francisco Centre and included help from officers with the California Highway Patrol’s Organized Retail Crime Task Force.

Teams of uniformed and plainclothes officers spotted nine individuals stealing from businesses inside the shopping mall and swiftly arrested them and recovered the stolen property.

Officers combed through the mall, partnered with loss prevention employees, and communicated with a central command post to make the arrests. Officers conducted similar operations at businesses like drug stores, grocery stores, and apparel stores around the region.

On September 22, officers recovered an estimated $100,000 in stolen merchandise after arresting three prolific Bay Area thieves. The operations will continue to occur throughout the city for the foreseeable future. Our local business community and state law enforcement partners are providing valuable assistance in these cases.

The San Francisco District Attorney’s Office has been a partner and was recently awarded state grant money to fund a dedicated retail theft prosecutor.

“SFPD’s blitz enforcement operations will yield strong cases that will enable my office to do everything we can in the courtroom to ensure there is accountability and consequences for brazen retail theft,” said District Attorney Brooke Jenkins. “The blitz operations coupled with vigorous prosecution from my office will send a message that these crimes are taken seriously, and San Francisco is not the place to commit these kinds of crimes. We will enforce our laws and stand for our neighborhoods and businesses that have been targeted and victimized by brazen thieves.”

Retail crime has been rising in San Francisco. As of present, San Francisco has seen a 10 percent drop in larceny cases since 2022. The SFPD indicated retail theft has increased substantially around the country in recent years, with retailers reporting billions in losses. Cities like Washington DC, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and many others have all reported increases in retail theft.