November 28, 2021

THE GASLIGHTING WILL CONTINUE UNTIL MORALE IMPROVES: One Target store. One huge spike in shoplifting reports. What does it mean for San Francisco?

A closer look at the data shows that the spike in reported shoplifting came almost entirely from one store: the Target at 789 Mission St. in the Metreon mall. In September alone, 154 shoplifting reports were filed from the South of Market intersection where the Target stands, up from 13 in August. And then, in October, the reports from this intersection went down again to 17.

What happened at this particular Target? Did the store see a huge spike in shoplifting in September? No, said store manager Stacy Abbott. The store was simply using a new reporting system implemented by the police that allows retailers to report crime incidents over the phone.

When asked why the shoplifting reports had decreased again in October, Abbott said she wouldn’t be able to answer any more questions and directed The Chronicle to the Police Department as well as Target’s media team, which did not answer questions either.

Officer Robert Rueca, a police spokesperson, said the new reporting system was accessible to other businesses and individuals on weekdays, not just the Target. He did not respond to questions about how long the system had been in place or whether the department had seen an increase in shoplifting incidents from other stores since the system’s implementation (publicly available data does not show such an increase).

Though the spike seen in the data generates more questions than answers, one thing is clear: A single (albeit large and busy) store’s decision to report a majority of its shoplifting incidents doubled the entire city’s monthly shoplifting rates.

As Ace of Spades co-blogger Arthur Kimes tweets, “In other words, if the rest of the stores in SF reported shoplifting AS IT ACTUALLY OCCURS then the reported amount of shoplifting in SF would be shockingly high.”

Though to be fair, it’s the San Francisco Chronicle, so I can understand why they’d be angered by accurate reporting.

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