SAN FRANCISCO - To curb shoplifting at pharmacies and other businesses, there are calls to let San Francisco sheriff's deputies make extra money as security guards.
The idea, proposed by San Francisco Supervisor Ahsha Safai, would let off-duty deputies moonlight as private guards. Currently, only off-duty police officers can take a second job in security. Businesses would pay the deputies' wages.
The proposal comes after Walgreens announced the closure of another 5 stores in San Francisco due to alleged rampant theft.
Upon hearing the news, Safai said the closures would severely impact children, families and seniors, many of whom get their prescription medications from Walgreens pharmacies.
"I am completely devastated by this news. This closure will significantly impact this community. This Walgreens is less than a mile from seven schools and has been a staple for families and children for decades," he said of the Mission Street location. "The city needs to act with a sense of urgency to reduce and deter the number of incidents of commercial retail theft."
Last month, Scott and Mayor London Breed announced a series of new initiatives that would address retail thefts, including among others, expanding the Police Department's Organized Retail Crime Unit and recruiting more retired police officers to patrol neighborhoods.
The frustration and fear have been fueled by widely circulating images of shoplifting caught on video.
This summer, shoplifters in masks carrying armfuls of designer handbags sprinted from a downtown Neiman Marcus department store and into getaway cars. In June, a masked man was caught on video at a Walgreens, stuffing items into a trash bag before cruising out of the store on a bicycle.
If the supervisor's legislation is approved, deputies could be hired as security guards as early as November.