Almost Two Dozen Major Retailers Have Fled Downtown San Francisco Amid Skyrocketing Crime

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Erinn Broadus Investigative Reporter
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Since 2020, 23 retail stores have closed in downtown San Francisco, with many citing the increase in crime and the inability to keep their customers and employees safe, according to The San Francisco Standard.

Coco Republic, a furniture store, announced its closure Wednesday in a press release, stating it will be closed by the end of July or whenever inventory is sold out, according to KRON 4 News. The store joins other retailers like Whole Foods, Anthropologie, Nordstrom and T-Mobile that have closed their doors since 2020 due to crime, the San Francisco Standard reported.

“Less than six months from opening, we could not be more disappointed to be shuttering this flagship location in our sister city, but ultimately, the safety and well-being of our customers and employees is our highest priority,” Coco Republic’s Creative Director, Anthony Spon-Smith, said in a statement. (RELATED: Increased Crime Causes San Francisco To Bump Pay For Police Officers)

There have been over 10,000 cases of larceny or theft in San Francisco already in 2023, according to data from the San Francisco police department. Critics have pointed to laws such as Proposition 47, a statewide ballot initiative which passed in 2014 and made theft of under $950 a nonviolent misdemeanor, as contributing to the increase in crime.

“There’s no deterrent in the state of California to discourage theft at this point,” said Mike Leininger, a retired police officer to NBC Bay Area.

Employees at one of the few remaining stores in the area, Target, estimate that there are at least 10 thefts a day, according to The San Francisco Standard.

In a press release Wednesday, Coco Republic cited “well documented” issues and “despite taking numerous precautions in and around their San Francisco store to protect customers and employees, Coco Republic has concluded that it is impossible to continue to keep the location open.”

Many of the stores have cited safety concerns as reasons for closing up shop.

“If we feel we can ensure the safety of our team members in the store, we will evaluate a reopening of our Trinity location,” said a spokesperson for Whole Foods, which closed just over a year after opening.

“Due to ongoing organized retail crime, we have made the difficult decision to close five stores across San Francisco,” said Walgreens in a statement after the shuttering their San Francisco locations.

“A growing number of retailers and businesses are leaving the area due to the unsafe conditions for customers, retailers, and employees, coupled with the fact that these significant issues are preventing an economic recovery of the area,” said a spokesperson for Westfield Mall after the departure of Nordstrom.

Stores aren’t just pulling out of the downtown area; the vacancy rate for commercial real estate in San Francisco is the highest it’s ever been, at about 30%, according to CBRE, an investment firm.

“35 million square feet [is] not currently being used…the highest that we’ve ever seen in San Francisco.” said Colin Yasukochi, executive director of CBRE, to NBC Bay Area.

Coco Republic and Mayor London Breed’s Office did not immediately respond to Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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