SAN FRANCISCO—17 Walgreen locations in San Francisco have closed their doors within the last five years according to a report from the SF Chronicle. Ten of these closures transpired from 2019 to this year with the last Walgreens store to close its door as of this writing, back on March 17. The cause of the closures is due to rampant shoplifting and looting that has transpired at Walgreen locations in the city believed to be perpetuated by an organized crime ring. 

On Thursday, May 13 a hearing was held by the Board of Supervisors with retailers, the SFPD, the district attorney’s office, and probation departments. Brendan Dugan, director of organized retail crime and corporate investigations, believes that San Francisco is at the center of organized retail crime. He brought up a state bust in the Bay Area from last year in which $8 million in stolen merchandise was confiscated from five suspects. The merchandise came from CVS, Target and Walgreens stores from all across San Francisco. A VP for Walgreen stores, Jason Cunningham, said in the hearing that Walgreen stores in San Francisco face theft four times the average for stores inside the city than anywhere else.

In a statement given by Safeway at the hearing blamed the rise in shoplifting on Prop 47 which was passed by voters on November 4, 2014. The prop lowered penalties for thefts under $950 to being punishable by up to 6 months in county jail. The district attorney’s office will pursue aggregated charges for people who commit multiple petty theft incidents.