The City of San Francisco recently announced plans to upgrade their Organized Retail Crime Initiative led by the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD). The initiative collaborates with local retailers and regional law enforcement, including the California Highway Patrol's Organized Retail Crime Task Force.

The city aims to increase the reporting, investigation and solving of retail theft cases and the upstream criminal enterprises that fuel them.

The security upgrade plan has three main elements:

  • Hiring three new investigators and one lieutenant to fight organized retail crime
  • Assigning SFPD personnel to work directly with retail partners and tripling the SFPD Community Ambassador program, which employs retired SFPD officers to patrol and serve as theft deterrence
  • Increase reporting of crimes through expansion of the Teleserve Unit, which was implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic to take reports without in-person contact

If successful in enabling retailers to maximize their reporting of retail crimes, a potentially dramatic increase in larceny and commercial burglary crime rates should be expected. More reporting and data aggregation will more effectively target the SFPD’s deployment of police resources, while enabling investigators to more fully inform partner agencies within the California Highway Patrol’s Organized Retail Crime Task Force.

The city reported a 19% decrease in larceny theft between July and August 2021, with an overall increase of two percent between 2020 and 2021.