Walgreens plans to close 5 San Francisco stores, citing rampant shoplifting and 'organized retail crime'

  • Walgreens is closing five of its stores in San Francisco, citing rampant shoplifting.

  • Residents say the loss of the drugstores could harm the community.

  • The company has struggled with shoplifting for years and has closed 10 stores in the city since 2019.

Walgreens will close five more of its San Francisco locations due to rampant shoplifting and "organized retail crime," a Walgreens spokesperson told SFGate on Tuesday.

"Organized retail crime continues to be a challenge facing retailers across San Francisco, and we are not immune to that," Walgreens spokesperson Phil Caruso said. "Retail theft across our San Francisco stores has continued to increase in the past few months to five times our chain average."

Walgreens locations in San Francisco have struggled with shoplifting for years, and ten Walgreens locations have been closed in the city since 2019. Community members said one closure left seniors, disabled residents, and low-income residents without a convenient local drugstore to go to, with the next closest location not being accessible to those with disabilities, according to a Change.org petition.

"During this time to help combat this issue, we increased our investments in security measures in stores across the city to 46 times our chain average in an effort to provide a safe environment," Caruso said.

Caruso also said patients' prescriptions will be transferred to nearby stores.

In October, 2020, one Walgreens location closed after saying it lost $1,000 in stolen merchandise every day.

"I am completely devastated by this news - this Walgreens is less than a mile from seven schools and has been a staple for seniors, families and children for decades. This closure will significantly impact this community," Ahsha Safaí, a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, wrote on Twitter about the upcoming closures.

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