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The evolution of shoplifting in San Francisco

Incidents of shoplifting in San Francisco have taken a prominent place in both local and national dialogue. Public perception of the crime has been fueled by viral videos, media coverage and the outraged calls of some residents. Yet according to statistics from the San Francisco Police Department, incidents of reported retail theft are down compared to years prior.

So we wanted to know: How has the city been talking about—and addressing—shoplifting over the past 15 years?

We took a look back at Board of Supervisors meetings, Police Commission meetings, and other legislative forums, scouring for major milestones in San Francisco’s long-running effort to stem retail crime. 

And what we found might surprise you. Watch the video above for a rundown of that evolution.

Jesse Rogala can be reached at

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