City of San Francisco to hire additional prosecutors to help with operation 'retail theft blitz'

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - Mayor of the city, London Breed has announced that San Francisco will be hiring additional prosecutors to continue operation "retail theft blitz."

According to the San Francisco Examiner, operation "retail theft blitz" is part of the city's new wave of anti-crime policies and as a result, hundreds of alleged criminals have been arrested and charged. 

Breed's office confirmed that police have made over 300 arrests in over 40 operations at local retailers. Many of those arrested have already been charged by the district attorney's office. City leaders are focused on "bringing a renewed enforcement effort" to the city as the 2024 elections for mayor and other city offices are in full force. 

In a statement, Breed said, "Our police officers are out there making the arrests and, along with our district attorney, they are sending a clear message that if you target our retailers, you will be arrested and charged." He added, "Organized retail theft hurts not just our businesses, but our workers and our residents. We are going to do everything we can to make this holiday shopping season the best one we've had in years, and that starts with deterring retail theft."

In October, a survey from Grow SF shows that only 24 percent of San Franciscans say that the city is going in the right direction. That is the lowest number since the group began its polling in April of 2015. 

City-county's top leaders, including the mayor and the County Board of Supervisors, have disapproval rates of 63 percent and 65 percent, respectively. To improve those numbers, Breed and the board announced dual proposals to expand and reform the police department as well as mandate drug treatment for recipients of city-county welfare programs. 

Combating the rising theft crimes has become a top priority for city leaders. Over the last several months, the rising theft crimes have forced major retail stores such as Target and Walgreens to shut their doors. 

Breed also announced that the city is using a state grant to hire two new district attorneys that will solely focus on prosecuting those who commit theft crimes. The city will also install 400 automated license plate readers at 100 intersections across the city in an effort to better track and capture suspects who flee the scene of their crimes.

Rafael Mangual, a Manhattan Institute fellow and member of the Council on Criminal Justice said that these new policies and operations are all good, but these actions will be meaningless of criminals are not held responsible for their actions and easily return to the streets. 

He said, "It's encouraging to see an initiative that marries proactively policing this problem with a prosecution strategy that is, at least in theory, meant to operate as a backstop to those efforts. The key test will be whether the highest-rate offenders are actually taken off the street for a significant period of time."

In September, Breed's office announced that the city received $17 million in a state grant to combat organized retail theft. This grant includes $15 million in funding to support the San Francisco Police Department's (SFPD) work to combat the crimes that are taking place in retail stores. Those funds are paying for the overtime it takes for officers to run targeted retail theft operations. 

The police department plans to significantly increase these blitz operations over the next three years with the funding from the new state grant. SFPD has also used bait car operations and plainclothes officers to target auto burglaries. These operations have helped bring larceny theft rates down by 11 percent year to date compared to the same period in 2022.
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