Over $1 billion worth of goods were stolen from Bay Area stores this month in smash-and-grab robberies.
Louis Vuitton, Nordstrom, Burberry, Bloomingdales, Walgreens, and Lululemon were among the stores affected.
Photos show San Francisco stores boarded up with a strong police presence on Black Friday.
A wave of organized theft and smash-and-grab robberies hit California's Bay Area this November, from luxury stores in San Francisco's Union Square to family businesses in Chinatown.
Approximately 80 people raided this Nordstrom store in Walnut Creek, stealing merchandise in under one minute, a police spokesperson said. Three employees were kicked, punched, or pepper-sprayed, the spokesperson added.
Source: NBC News
The same week, San Francisco's Union Square saw nearly a dozen of smash-and-grab robberies. Around 20 to 40 thieves targeted a Louis Vuitton store, District Attorney Chesa Boudin said in a statement.
Over $1 million of merchandise was stolen during the Union Square robberies, prosecutors said. Nine arrests have been made so far, according to the District Attorney's website.
Kevin Nishita, a security guard protecting a news crew covering retail theft in Oakland, died this weekend after being shot during a robbery attempt, KTVU reported.
In the wake of the city's mass thefts, San Francisco retailers boarded up their window fronts as plywood replaced December's usual holiday decor.
Burglarized Union Square stores boarded up broken windows, such as Burberry.
Source: ABC 7 News
Local business owners and employees told reporters that they want officials to do more to combat organized retail theft. San Francisco Mayor London Breed (D) said the robberies are "detrimental to our city," promising security changes to Union Square.
Earlier that month, a small business owner in Chinatown had $250,000 worth of jewelry stolen from her store in a smash-and-grab robbery. She told the SF Chronicle that her insurance won't cover the loss, adding that she's not sure if she can afford to keep the store open.
Source: the San Francisco Chronicle
"What happens when people vandalize and commit those levels of crimes in San Francisco, we not only lose those businesses, we lose those jobs," Mayor Breed said. "We lose that tax revenue that helps to support our economy that helps to support many of the social service programs that we have in the city in the first place."
Source: ABC 7 News
As photos of boarded-up storefronts went viral on social media, some said that San Francisco's poverty and homelessness levels must be addressed in tandem with the crimes.
"This is what downtown San Francisco looks like rn," one user tweeted alongside photos of the city's homeless encampments. "If you're feeling sorry for ZARA and Burberry shoppers, you're missing the point."
As shoppers filled Union Square on Black Friday, police and private security guards stood watch at stores like Gucci. "We will flood this area with police officers for the foreseeable future," SFPD Chief Bill Scott said at a press conference. "We will do what we need to do to put an end to this madness."
Source: CBS Local
Read the original article on Business Insider