Holiday shoppers feel safer at San Francisco's Union Square but robberies continue nearby

ByCornell Barnard KGO logo
Monday, November 28, 2022
Shoppers feel safer at SF's Union Square but robberies continue
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Holiday shoppers feel safer at San Francisco's Union Square but robberies still continue nearby.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The 2022 holiday shopping season is here and many are returning to one of the Bay Area's premiere shopping destinations: Union Square in San Francisco.

But following last year's smash-and-grab robberies and an increased police presence, are they feeling safer?

"I feel like it's pretty calm, people are out, there's hustle bustle in stores, not too crowded," said shopper Stephanie Ramirez.

Ramirez started her holiday shopping at Union Square, and she wasn't alone.

MORE: 'Very festive': SF Union Square's holiday spirit is back after last year's robberies

San Francisco cab driver Divino Rosa says he's been taking more riders here.

"I think more people are coming this year than last year, which is very good. I appreciate it. We keep praying," Rosa said.

Many believe there's more foot traffic, and even more ice skaters at the rink compared to 2020 and 2021.

"Last year, I felt like there was a lot of insecurity around Union Square," Ramirez said.

EXCLUSIVE: $178K worth of camera equipment stolen in armed robbery at store near SF's Union Square

After numerous brazen smash-and-grab robberies targeting high-end retailers rocked the city in 2021, forcing the city to increase its police presence around Union Square.

But on Saturday, ABC7 News first showed you surveillance video of four people getting out of a gray sedan at Bush and Grant, near Union Square, then robbing employees at the Leica Camera store at gunpoint, making off with nearly $180,000 in equipment.

Just days ago, SFPD Police Chief William Scott assured the public of additional safety measures in the area.

"Our job is to keep people safe and make sure we're present and engaged and prevent those who want to do harm to visitors and residents," Scott said.

MORE: How safe is your neighborhood? Check out ABC7's Bay Area safety tracker

Managers at Cafe Encore on Post Street say they'd like more police in the area.

"More cops, more proper ways of safety, I guess," said manager Sirine Heroumi.

We found Ron Divino and his trusty dog Monster Man. Divino said he feels safe this season and others should too.

"I know we had a rough time last year. People feel the anxiety. They want to put a smile on their face and get in the spirit, regardless of how tough things are," Divino said.

If you're on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live