Holiday shoppers return to SF Union Square with modified security measures in wake of retail thefts

ByCornell Barnard via KGO logo
Sunday, December 5, 2021
Shoppers return to SF Union Square with heavy police presence
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San Francisco has launched traffic control measures and stepped up police presence to deter crime but will it be enough to bring shoppers back?

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- It's been two weeks since brazen smash and grab robberies rocked San Francisco's Union Square. The city has launched traffic control measures and stepped up police presence to deter crime in the area but will it be enough to bring holiday shoppers back?

Holiday cheer is returning to San Francisco's Union Square and on this Saturday, so were the crowds.

"It's good to see people out today, I mean, it's really good, it makes me feel like we're into Christmas now," said Lydia Lewis from Oakland.

Lewis and her fiancé Jesse Lynch were taking in the sights but being careful, after those now infamous smash and grab robberies terrorized the square several weeks ago.

WATCH: Video shows decimated San Francisco Louis Vuitton store after massive smash-and-grab robbery

"We are being cautious, watching ourselves, I have my purse where i can see it," said Lewis.

Since the robberies, police have made several arrests and increased police presence considerably around the square, including this mobile command center.

"It's a safe environment, lots of police officers securing the area, lots of families are enjoying the holiday season," said Union Square Alliance Executive Director, Marisa Rodriguez.

The Hollero Family from Daly City came to shop.

"We've been hearing about a lot of cops around the neighborhood and all the stuff so we figured it was safe to bring our kids, plus it's Christmas time," said Glen Hollero.

RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: SFPD Chief says 'there has to be some accountability' on retail thefts

Some luxury stores are open but still boarded up with security guards out front.

At Gump's, the holiday shop was crowded with shoppers.

"I would encourage people to come down, there's a strong police presence, feeling good about what we're seeing, post-event a couple of weeks ago," said Gump's Vice President Marc Capalbo.

Street closures around Union Square are now happening daily from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. to help deter crime.

The city also giving shoppers incentives to come here with two hours free parking in the Union Square garage. It was full by Saturday afternoon.

RELATED: Mayor Breed says changes will be coming to SF after brazen Union Square robbery

Former San Franciscans Gina and Dawn weren't sold and didn't like the vibe.

"There's fewer people a lot of police, not the same feel, boarded up stores," said Dawn Reid from Dallas.

But after nearly two years of pandemic stress, many folks say they need some yuletide cheer.

"We have to move on that's what it is, let's enjoy this season," Hollero said.