A Target store in San Francisco has placed all of its cosmetic and toiletry products on quarantine in response to a shoplifting crisis that has crippled retailers in the Golden State.
Thursday’s TikTok video of the store’s interior showed aisle after aisle of ubiquitous drugstore products secured behind locked doors.
While it is common for stores to lock up tiny valuable items such as razors, the clip also showed that many inexpensive large items such as mouthwash, shampoo, and lotion were kept out of the dirty hands of would-be shoplifters.
The cosmetics ban had been in effect at the Folsom Street store near the Mission District since at least October of last year.
“Like other retailers, our business is concerned with organized retail crime. A Target spokesperson told The Post that the company is taking preventative measures to ensure the safety of its employees and customers, as well as to deter and prevent larceny.
The Bay Area has been struck particularly hard by a national organized retail crime epidemic that exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic, causing chains like Walgreens to close five San Francisco stores due to theft.
The National Retail Federation’s 2022 retail security survey ranked San Francisco/Oakland as the second-worst metropolitan area for larceny in 2020 and 2021, behind only Los Angeles.
The organization notes that body wash and over-the-counter medications are particularly appealing to shoplifters, who can often sell their stolen goods to smaller retailers on the black market.
In 2021, New York City moved up to third place, surpassing Chicago.
71% of retailers surveyed by the association reported a “substantial” or “moderate” increase in organized retail crime, with 55% attributing the rise to policies that reduce or eliminate cash bail for non-violent offenses in cities such as San Francisco and New York.
While San Francisco’s murder rate remains significantly lower than that of many other major cities, two recent high-profile attacks have highlighted a rise in violent crime there: the stabbing death of Cash App founder Bob Lee earlier this month and the unprovoked crowbar attack on Fire Commissioner Don Carmignani, who was left fighting for his life a day later.
The department is understaffed by 25 percent due to the failure to replace 562 officers who retired or resigned, according to Police Chief Bill Scott.
“People want our officers to focus on open-air drug dealing, retail theft, home invasions, and violence in our neighborhoods, but we need more officers to deliver,” said Mayor London Breed.