SAN FRANCISCO, CA- According to reports, a new crime-prevention program in San Francisco will pay people who are considered “at risk of shooting someone” $300 a month if they keep their hands off guns and don’t get shot themselves.
San Francisco will pay people to not shoot others: 'Cash for criminals' https://t.co/iYZuBF2pMu
— Fox News (@FoxNews) September 1, 2021
To counter the rising crime rate, the City is launching a new initiative dubbed “Dream Keeper Fellowship” in October and will pay 10 individuals a monthly allowance for not engaging in shootings.
During an interview on Tuesday, August 31st, Sheryl Davis, executive director of the Human Rights Commission, described the program as not “transactional,” but instead an important “investment” in violence plagued communities.
Reportedly, the Fellowship participants will be paired with life coaches from the city’s Street Violence Intervention Program (SVIP) and will be called “community ambassadors,” whose work will be “to prevent violence,” seemingly by not committing it.
The participants will be required to work on improving their professional, personal, and community traits, and will be considered “partners” in engaging members of their respectful communities in decreasing violent activities.
Davis further explained that the program aims at eradicating the “root causes” of violence, which she said “in many ways are economic.” In addition to $300, participants may earn as much as an additional $200 per month for working on “improving their community.”
Improving their community includes working, attending school, or being a mediator in situations that could lead to violence.
Davis is hopeful the program will attract interest and make the future partakers more “civil-minded”, allowing them to “be part of the solution,” which in turn, would create safer communities in the long run.
The San Francisco Examiner stated that at its worst the program could be called “cash for criminals,” like its predecessors in cities around the Bay Area and that at its best, it could save lives and tax dollars otherwise spent on incarceration.
The theory is that the up to $500 stipend will serve as an incentive to participate and stay engaged. Davis said:
“We know that $500 in San Francisco is not a significant amount of money. But, if it’s enough to get you in to talk to folks and be able to make a plan for your life, then that’s huge.”
— Paul Harte (@compleatchef) September 2, 2021
This is not the first time a city in California has tried to reduce gun violence by offering cash.
A similar anti-violence program in Oakland offers young adults up to $300 for achieving milestones. The different in San Francisco is that it would start people off with a baseline of $300 a month without having to meet any marks.
It is also not San Francisco’s first guaranteed-income program. The City recently rolled out similar efforts for pregnant mothers from marginalized communities and artists struggling during the pandemic.
The plan is to kick off the Fellowship program with 10 participants before expanding the stipends to another 30 high-risk individuals by the end of the year. They have already hired two life coaches to work with participants at SVIP and are looking to hire two more. Davis said:
“What we are actually doing is trying to address the root cause of some of what’s happened. Six thousand dollars per person, when you look at it annually, is nothing if it helps deter criminal activity compared to the amount of money it costs to incarcerate someone, let alone the impact of the activity itself.”
The effort comes as shootings are soaring in San Francisco, after years of declines. It is a pattern being seen around the nation during the pandemic, even in cities like Oakland that already have cash incentive programs.
San Francisco program pays people $300-a-month to not shoot each other https://t.co/MdWaEUPveZ via @MailOnline
San Francisco rolls out program to PAY people $300-a-month not to SHOOT each other in a bid to curb gun violence in woke city where 'crime is basically legal'
— B Gallagher (@Gally66kg) September 2, 2021
About twice as many people have been shot in San Francisco as of late July compared to either of the prior two years.
During the same time period, police data show there were 21 gun homicides in 2021 compared to 15 in 2020 and 14 in 2019. The number of non-fatal shooting victims also rose to 108 from 51 and 50 in the previous two years.
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Target stores in police-defunded San Francisco to reduce hours due to constant looting of their stores
July 5th, 2021
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Law Enforcement Today (LET) recently reported on the impact of the crime wave in San Francisco as brazen thieves continue to loot stores in the Bay Area.
Target slashes store hours in San Francisco over shoplifting, city's far-left DA blames police https://t.co/hdNpCRf29L
— common sense (@JosephZ24290994) July 3, 2021
Now, stores and properties, including Target, are announcing that they are cutting store hours to reduce their losses. According to ABC7, Target stores normally stay open until 10 p.m. in most cities around the country, but the stores in San Francisco will now be closing at 6 p.m.
The company confirmed that for more than a month their stores have experienced an alarming rise in theft and security incidents, similar to reports from other retail stores in the area.
A Target spokesperson said in a statement:
“For more than a month, we’ve been experiencing a significant and alarming rise in theft and security incidents at our San Francisco stores, similar to reports from other retailers in the area. Target is engaging local law enforcement, elected officials, and community partners to address our concerns.
“With the safety of our guests, team members, and communities as our top priority, we’ve temporarily reduced our operating hours in six San Francisco stores.”
Target is not the only store in San Francisco that has made changes to its hours or operations because of the continuous shoplifting. After 10 p.m. the 7-Eleven on Drumm St. in the Financial District only does business through a metal door.
Before a customer can even get inside, they must ring a bell to let them know you are outside. Manager Bobby Singh said in a statement:
“This window was installed like two or three months ago because it was not safe. Sometimes they would break that glass of the door.”
Target to close stores early in San Francisco due to chronic shoplifting https://t.co/ZMNxIFvM3f
— Sammy T (@sammyjt1) July 3, 2021
Walgreens recently announced it is also closing stores because of the inability to keep people from continuously stealing from its stores.
Reportedly, the ongoing thefts have been dubbed “organized retail theft,” but it appears to be more like looting since several people invade a store at once and grab as much merchandise as possible before fleeing.
According to Walgreens, theft in their San Francisco stores is four times more than the average in stores across the country. The company also stated that they spend 35 times more on hiring security personnel for its stores in San Francisco. In the past five years, Walgreens has closed 17 stores in the Bay Area.
The Public Policy Institute of California’s research shows San Francisco has the lowest arrest rate of any police department in California.
San Francisco Police Chief William Scott said in a statement:
“That answer does speak to staffing. I mean it’s direct and this is not an excuse, this is a reality. In order for us to be at these locations when these things happen, the officers have to have time to be there.”
San Francisco's organized shoplifting surge prompts Target to cut operating hours https://t.co/kQ3ojqfmsG
— Galileo B. Luzano (@LuzanoB) July 3, 2021
Reportedly, in 1994 voters passed Proposition D, which mandated that there be 1,971 fully duty officers. However, San Francisco has never reached that goal. In 2020, amid calls to defund the police, the board of supervisors changed the police department’s budget.
Now, Mayor London Breed is proposing an increase to the police department’s budget and has urged supervisors to support the move. In response to Target cutting their hours, Breed says that is not the answer.
The mayor said:
“We need to make sure when these crimes occur that there is an accountability component. When police make an arrest which they have, which you saw on the news with the guy on the bike an arrest had been made. Will they be held accountable for what they did?”
San Francisco Supervisor Ahsha Safai has also stepped in. He has asked both the police department and the District Attorney’s office to come up with a coordinated plan to reduce the organized retail crime and find out why San Francisco is apparently targeted more than anywhere else.
“These are people who are recruited, organized and are reselling these goods and San Francisco is hurting for it.”
Safai has given the police and DA’s office a week to come up with an answer.
Walgreens has closed 17 stores in Nancy Pelosi’s police-defunded San Francisco due to ‘out of control’ shoplifting
May 17th, 2021
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Thanks to widespread and persistent shoplifting, 17 Walgreens Pharmacy locations have shuttered in San Francisco during the past five years.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, shoplifting did decrease during the coronavirus pandemic, but police also told the news outlet that “incidents are often underreported and have become more violent and brazen.”
San Francisco Supervisor Ahsha Safaí told the San Francisco Chronicle that the situation is “out of control,” adding:
“People are scared to go into these stores — seniors, people with disabilities, children. It’s just happening brazenly.”
Brazen shoplifting has worsened in San Francisco. Retailers attributed a majority of losses to professional thieves.
The cost of business and shoplifting led Walgreens to shut 17 locations in the city in the past five years.https://t.co/HizwQ0wC6z
— San Francisco Chronicle (@sfchronicle) May 13, 2021
Longtime Walgreens customer Sebastian Luke told the Chronicle regarding closures:
“All of us knew it was coming. Whenever we go in there, they always have problems with shoplifters.”
Luke also suggested that the employees at Walgreens are helpless to do anything in the face of the thefts, saying:
“I feel sorry for the clerks, they are regularly being verbally assaulted.”
“The clerks say there is nothing they can do. They say Walgreens’ policy is to not get involved.
“They don’t want anyone getting injured or getting sued, so the guys just keep coming in and taking whatever they want.”
In fact, a shoplifting incident occurred right in front of San Francisco Chronicle writer Phil Matier, as he was working on a story about “rampant shoplifting” and Walgreens closures.
“No sooner had the clerk spoken than a man wearing a virus mask walked in, emptied two shelves of snacks into a bag, then headed back for the door.
“As he walked past the checkout line, a customer called out, ‘Sure you don’t want a drink with that?’”
In order to address the ongoing problem of shoplifting at retail establishments like Walgreens, Supervisor Ahsha Safaí held a hearing Thursday, May 13, with retailers, police, District Attorney Chesa Boudin, and probation departments.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that retailers at the hearing pointed the finger at “professional thieves instead of opportunistic shoplifters who may be driven by poverty.”
A representative from CVS also termed San Francisco “a hub of organized retail crime.”
Jason Cunningham, regional vice president for pharmacy and retail operations in California and Hawaii, reported at the hearing that theft in San Francisco Walgreens locations is four times higher than in stores elsewhere in the country.
In addition, Cunningham noted that the pharmacy chain spends 35 times more on security in San Francisco than in other locations.
Brendan Dugan, director of organized retail crime and corporate investigations for CVS Pharmacy, also attended the hearing. He reported that 42% of CVS’s losses in the Bay Area are from 12 stores in San Francisco, yet those stores only represent 8% of the market share.
I asked one of my local walgreen's checkout staff how often they have the casual theft that we had both just seen, and the response was "…all..the time."
— Justin Powell (@justinp1) December 19, 2020
Dugan added that it was “professional crime” that accounted for 85% of CVS’s losses. He called San Francisco “one of the ‘epicenters’ of organized retail crime,” reminding those present of a major retail theft ring bust in October of 2020, in which over $8 million of stolen merchandise was recovered.
That merchandise came, in part, from Walgreens and CVS.
In another take at the hearing on the origin of the thefts, retail grocery chain Safeway placed blame for “dramatic increases” in shoplifting on the passage of Proposition 47 in 2014.
California’s Prop. 47 amended the California penal code, Section 490.2, to lower penalties for certain thefts. It now reads that theft of property valued at less than $950 is punishable as a misdemeanor with a fine of up to $1000 or six months in jail.
The Washington Examiner reports that many California prosecutors also “have opted to free those charged with the offense under certain conditions rather than holding them in jail for the maximum sentence of six months.”
In addition, as we reported last year, San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin has refused to prosecute “low level” crimes like shoplifting.
As a result, would-be shoplifters appear to face the prospect of minimal if any consequences — if they are caught at all.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that in 2020, only about “31% of shoplifting incidents resulted in arrest,” a number that has decreased over the past two years.
Both CVS and Walgreens train their employees to “be engaged and visible to prevent theft, but not to confront thieves directly when it could turn violent.”
In addition, most shoplifters have fled the area before police have time to arrive, and according to Jay Cheng, public policy director for the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, loss prevention personnel will not detain shoplifters for fear of liability.
Liability concerns do not even have to involve physical contact. According to the Wall Street Journal, several retail establishments in California have been sued by people who were caught shoplifting and claimed they were racially profiled.
The numbers speak for themselves. While sales remain relatively similar across urban markets – theft, shrink and workplace threats are through the roof despite an exponentially larger investment in security. 85% of this is organized crime according to the drugstores. pic.twitter.com/8Hggr02XuN
— Ahsha Safai 安世輝 (@Ahsha_Safai) May 13, 2021
In addition to organized criminals, the homeless and the poor comprise another group that has been named as responsible for a lot of the frequent thefts from retail stores such as Walgreens.
Deputy District Attorney Matthew Donahue has called the increasing shoplifting indicative of “a lot of the issues we’re facing as a city: homelessness, poverty, drug addiction.”
Donahue reported to The Davis Vanguard that some of the people struggling with these issues habitually take only what they need from stores, while others steal more items in hope that they can sell them and raise money for their families.
The focus of shoplifting investigations, Deputy DA Donahue told The Davis Vanguard in March, will not be on them, but instead “only on stopping serious, repeat offenders, especially violent ones.”
The Davis Vanguard further reports that Donahue and his team have collaborated with a consulting firm to work through over 100 shoplifting incidents and identify and apprehend repeat shoplifters.
As of March, from those 100 plus incidents, four warrants had been issued and two serial shoplifters had been arrested.
San Francisco to shift $120 million from law enforcement budget to ‘reparations’ to the black community
February 28, 2021
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Mayor London Breed announced Thursday how the city will spend $120 million removed from law enforcement budgets. Labeled “The Dream Keeper Initiative,” the plan will reinvest the money into the city’s black community.
The Mayor called the initiative “reparations.”
Will cutting a $120 million from the San Francisco Police Dept make response times go up or down? Will Detectives solve more crimes or less with massive budget cuts? @OfficerDunphy @SteveBellow @rcjparry @elgrenchoviejo @asthegirlturns @jenvanlaar https://t.co/emq8cxjC6L
— Thomas Marchetti (@Ryanexpress77) February 26, 2021
Calling the reinvestment “reparations,” Breed said the transfer of funds from law enforcement to the minority black community was to make up for “decades of disinvestment” in the black community by the city.
The plan calls for the funds to be used for workforce development health campaigns, youth and cultural programs, and housing support with the minority, predominately black communities.
The Mayor said the spending plan includes priorities identified during community meetings and surveys with black residents.
Also this week – Also this week – San Francisco Police Department Faces Force Reduction of 11% and
Budget Cuts Could Result in San Francisco Police Layoffshttps://t.co/1wUndz4S1a
— Trumpforce (@Trumpforce4All) February 25, 2021
Breed, the city’s first African-American Mayor, said that her motivation for carrying out the initiative was her own life:
“I grew up in poverty. I’ve had to live in poverty over 20 years of my life. And the frustration that came from living like that and then seeing so many of my friends who had been killed or in jail or on drugs — that is my motivation.
Because just imagine if we can change the outcome of African Americans in San Francisco. What an incredible, thriving city we truly will be.”
Funding for the intuitive will come from the budgets of local law enforcement agencies. $80 million will be shed from the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) budget over two years, and $40 million is from the Sheriff’s Department.
The cuts were prompted by a summer of protests following the killing of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis on Memorial Day and calls by some Democrats to defund police departments across the country.
In June, Breed also ordered the police department to no longer respond to non-criminal complaints.
Burglaries skyrocket almost 343% after San Francisco ‘police reforms’, massive police budget cuts https://t.co/YhPH12stiZ
— Ed – Conservative From L.A. (@Ed00498164) February 20, 2021
The actions of the Mayor and city council come at a time when crime has surged in San Francisco. Burglaries have been spiraling out of control, with a rise in property crime of 342.9% in the Richmond District alone.
As of February 14, there have been 124 burglaries in Richmond this year. Robberies, assaults, and arsons were also rapidly increasing over last year’s numbers.
While the cuts to the law enforcement agencies’ budgets are deep, 6% of SFPD’s budget, the heads of both agencies were supportive when the coming cuts were announced last year. SFPD Chief of Police Bill Scott said in July:
“We knew there would be pain and sacrifice associated with these budget cuts, but we also know they’re necessary to fulfill the promise of Mayor Breed’s and Sup.
Walton’s reinvestment initiative to support racial equality. While the cuts are significant, they are cuts we can absorb, and that will not diminish our ability to provide essential services.”
11% of San Francisco police could be laid off because of budget cuts https://t.co/cZGkrPXMjU
— Raymond E. Foster (@policeofficer) February 20, 2021
However, when Mayor Breed asked Chief Scott to try and find places to cut the budget further during a budget meeting, he said doing so was not possible:
“The majority of our budget is personnel staffing, and we’ve cut pretty much everything we can cut. Which will equate, because we’ve cut everything we can cut, in a reduction and a loss of 210 full-time employees.
“What you see highlighted in red are the stations that will be impacted the most. I am not supportive of these cuts. They will be devastating to the police department.”
The city’s President of the Board of Supervisors said the funds will help improve the black community. Shamann Walton said:
“This initial investment to improve outcomes for the black community and overturn years of disinvestment and inequitable resource distribution is just the first step in righting the wrongs of history.
“We now have to continue to prioritize communities that have never had a chance to build true wealth and this is a first step towards true reparations for the Black community here in San Francisco. We are proud of this work and looking forward to doing more.”
"The majority of our budget is personnel staffing, and we've cut pretty much everything we can cut." The San Francisco chief of police says any additional cuts will be devastating for his department. https://t.co/1e6jfzaIDl
— KRON4 News (@kron4news) February 19, 2021
The cuts follow similar measures in Los Angeles, where Democratic Mayor Eric Garcetti and the city council voted in July to cut the budget of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) by $150 million.
Councilman John Lee voted against the measure, which passed 12-2.
Lee said LAPD was a model other departments look up to, and pointed out that two-thirds of their officers are black:
“I’m not saying LAPD is a perfect organization. There’s always room for improvement, but … other police departments throughout the nation strive to follow them on their community policing, use of force, de-escalation, and implicit bias training.”
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