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San Francisco Safeway Adds Barriers To Deter Rampant Shoplifting

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- Having already cut hours because of rampant shoplifting, the Safeway in San Francisco's Castro District has installed new security measures to deter thieves.

Customers tell KPIX 5 they have noticed more security guards inside and outside of the store, and now they're seeing more security gates and barriers at the entrance.

RELATED: Safeway In Castro Cuts Hours Due To 'Off The Charts' Shoplifting; 'It's Sad, Upsetting And Frustrating'

An automatic gate closes after each person to make it harder for thieves to make a run for it. Safeway also added poles to its shopping carts to make them difficult to remove from the store.

"Honestly, I think it's probably good that they did that cause there was a really bad shoplifting problem almost every single time I came here, there was some type of ruckus happening," Chris Mejia said.

In late October, the neighborhood Safeway once open 24 hours, began closing at 9 pm due to rampant theft.

"Lots of times there was people running and security following or trying to stop them," added Mejia.

One shopper even admitted to stealing.

"I think that they're not very good because I've personally been able to shoplift from here with relative ease," he said, declining to provide his name.

In a statement to KPIX 5, Safeway said:

"Like other local businesses, we are working on ways to curtail escalating theft to ensure the wellbeing of our employees and to foster a welcoming environment for our customers. Their safety remains our top priority. These long-planned security improvements were implemented with those goals in mind."

The Safeway store also added barriers around the self-checkout area. It closed off a side exit, and added a wall of water bottles - directing customers to the front exit.

"It's obviously a pretty terrible issue. I think that now we're sort of used to it. I live in Hayes Valley and the Walgreens there is the perfect example of shuttering. It's a shame. I feel like the city has definitely changed a lot in the last year and a half," Lee said.

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