San Francisco Grocer Mandates Keeping Carts Indoors Amid City's Rising Theft Concerns

A grocery store in San Francisco has taken steps to keep customers from taking shopping carts outside of the store amid an increase in retail thefts in the city.

The Market Street Safeway is preventing customers from taking the carts outside by adding poles to them so they can't be rolled through the front doors, San Francisco's KNTV reported.

The store's manager told Newsweek that the Safeway added the poles in the past couple of weeks. The manager also said the store has another set of shopping carts outside, where employees can help customers bring their groceries to their vehicle.

The decision at the Safeway store follows a wave of retail thefts. The SF Gate website recently reported that customers have been leaving reviews about the lack of shopping carts outside the store, including one review claiming that 160 of the store's shopping carts had been stolen.

"Zero shopping carts. It appears they have all been removed including the cart racks that were outside the front of the store," one customer wrote in a Google review.

Speaking to Hoodline.com, Safeway spokesperson Wendy Gutshall confirmed that 160 carts had been stolen from the Market Street location. "Like other retailers, the disappearance of shopping carts is an ongoing challenge," she said. "We continue to explore solutions to address and send additional shopping carts to the Castro Safeway store."

Newsweek reached out to Gutshall for further comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

In addition to the Market Street Safeway, other retail stores in San Francisco have taken extra steps to mitigate retail theft.

Earlier this month, Target announced that it was reducing its store hours in several locations across the city.

"For more than a month, we've been experiencing a significant and alarming rise in theft and security incidents at our San Francisco stores, similar to reports from other retailers in the area," a Target spokesperson told KPIX-TV in San Francisco.

"Target is engaging local law enforcement, elected officials and community partners to address our concerns. With the safety of our guests, team members and communities as our top priority, we've temporarily reduced our operating hours in six San Francisco stores," the spokesperson said.

Rachel Michelin, president of the California Retailers Association, told KPIX that San Francisco ranks as the fifth worst city across the U.S. for retail theft and said that she was "proud" of Target's decision.

"I wasn't surprised because we've seen other retailers close in San Francisco. I'm actually proud of the fact that they are trying to hold on and keep the stores open," Michelin told KPIX.

Safeway
A Safeway store in San Francisco is preventing customers from taking shopping carts outside. Above, customers outside a Safeway in 2014. Justin Sullivan/Getty