Organized Retail Crime Challenges

SAN FRANCISCO — A flurry of shoplifters in masks and hooded jackets sprinted from a downtown Neiman Marcus last week and into getaway cars with armfuls of designer handbags — a scene captured on video and raising fears that rings of thieves were hitting retail businesses.

The incident, which remains under investigation, was only the latest to give an impression of lawlessness running rampant in San Francisco's stores, where people have been caught on recordings openly swiping products seemingly without repercussion.

But city leaders are pushing back at that image after the release Monday of a midyear public safety report. Police data shows overall thefts are down 9 percent in the first six months of the year compared to the same period in 2020, when the city was on lockdown and many businesses closed during the onset of the pandemic.