SF considers having deputies work retail store security amid rampant organized theft

Currently police officers are the only ones allowed to work overtime at these establishments.
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- There is new legislation being proposed in San Francisco that would allow deputy sheriffs to work as added security at retail stores throughout the city.

Currently police officers are the only ones allowed to work overtime at these establishments.

RELATED: Mayor Breed, SFPD announce new strategy against organized retail theft

Supervisor Ahsha Safai stood outside the Walgreens at 300 Gough Street Tuesday, where a viral video was taken back in June. The video shows a man leaving the store on a bicycle with a large bag of items.

VIDEO: Thief steals garbage bag full of items from SF Walgreens with security filming in plain sight
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Cell phone video taken Monday shows some of the brazen crime that has been driving retailers out of San Francisco.



"We heard from retailers that San Francisco is the epicenter of organized retail crime in the United States, in their opinion," said Safai.

His legislation would allow deputy sheriffs to work overtime at these locations just like a few police officers already do. Here's how it works at no cost to taxpayers:

"Essentially a private entity or an event contacts the city, in this situation, the sheriff department or police department and they would say they are going to pay for these services so they contract with the city," explained Supervisor Safai.

RELATED: San Francisco repeat offenders responsible for retail theft, police say

Retailers and the union representing food and commercial workers have been pushing for more accountability.

"We're at the point now that we need to have some action done," expressed Dan Larson of the UFCW.

But don't expect a drastic increase in the number of arrests. Sheriff Paul Miyamoto said they will employ their own tactics.

"Our intent isn't to go out and make a lot of arrests, our intent is to deter people from even thinking about committing the crime in the first place," added Miyamoto.

VIDEO: Stream of handbag thieves sprint out of San Francisco Neiman Marcus
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Police are investigating a case of shoplifting at Neiman Marcus in San Francisco's Union Square, where a group of suspects bolted out the store with designer bags in hand before jumping into waiting cars.



Last week, the mayor announced the city's first Organized Retail Crime Initiative which will increase the number of police investigators, and community ambassadors.

"When a crime is committed in this city, when you cross that line, there will be consequences," said Breed.

Rev. Amos Brown of the San Francisco NAACP said the focus should also be on cracking down on the people organizing these rings.

"There is an organized effort to use people who are marginalized, the minorities and specifically Blacks, to be their tools to do their dirt," he said.

The legislation will be discussed and voted upon by the full board of Supervisors as early as November.

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