'Alarming rise in theft' forces Target stores in San Francisco to shorten hours

Target stores in San Francisco are limiting their hours of operation in response to an increase in theft.

The retailer says there has been an increase in theft over the last few weeks, so now stores will limit their hours until further notice.

Target customers can only shop at San Francisco stores between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. instead of 10 p.m. The retailer released a statement offering the reason for the move saying, "for more than a month, we’ve been experiencing a significant and alarming rise in theft and security incidents at our San Francisco stores."

Customers say they understand the move.

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"They're a business and for them to survive they need to do what's necessary," said customer, Glen Emary. "So, I have no problem with it."

Target stories across the city have seen a series of high-profile shoplifting incidents.

An analysis of data from the San Francisco Police Department shows that shoplifting rates dropped during the pandemic, and appear to be creeping toward pre-pandemic levels. The drop in theft may have been attributed to many stores closing their doors or limiting the number of people allowed inside.

At the Target location in the South of Market neighborhood, police sources told KTVU that most of the thefts are committed by homeless in the area and a smaller percentage by organized shoplifting groups.

Some customers said Target's decision to limit hours is symptomatic of a larger problem in the city, with homelessness.

"I understand that they do run a business, and they have to shut it down because they're losing money," said a shopper who only wanted to be identified by their first name,  Addy. "But, on the other hand, I think there should be more affordable food, and there should be clothing for people who need to shoplift. Because a lot of people are doing it out of necessity."

San Francisco Mayor London Breed said the retailer should look to expand staffing rather than limit hours.

"It is sometimes disappointing to see maybe one line open and hardly any employees working at the register or even at the doors," Breed said. "So, I think part of it is a combination of us working together, and them having the right security and the right staffing in order to make sure there's a better customer experience."

Target has not said how long the new store hours at San Francisco locations will remain in place.