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San Francisco Target Stores Cut Operating Hours Due To Retail Theft Surge

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- Target has cut back operating hours at its stores in San Francisco because of rampant and increasingly brazen incidents of shoplifting at certain locations in the city.

A Target spokesperson sent the following statement in to KPIX 5 confirming the decision to adjust stores hours in San Francisco is related to theft.

"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. 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."

Target's San Francisco stores have moved to a 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. schedule, while most other Target stores operate between 7 or 8 a.m. and 10 p.m.

"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," said Rachel Michelin, president of the California Retailers Association.

Michelin told KPIX that San Francisco is the fifth worst city in the nation for retail theft, with Los Angeles taking the number one spot. She says the shoplifters aren't working alone. They are often often juveniles and unhoused people tapped by organized crime to do the dirty work.

"There comes a point -- with what we have shared with the elected leaders of the city -- where these types of decisions have to be made," said Michelin. "The bottom line is when these employees don't feel safe coming to work. That's when they have to take these drastic measures."

KPIX asked San Francisco Mayor London Breed to weigh in on Target's move.

"I think part of it is a combination of us working together and them having the right security and right staffing in order to make sure there is a better customer experience. Cutting hours is not a solution," Breed said.

The mayor also said enforcement has to be addressed.

"The question is will this person be held accountable for what they did? And that has to be part of the equation as well," she explained.

Stores such as CVS and Walgreens have been major targets in San Francisco in recent months as well as smaller retail stores. Businesses say the thefts, many tied to larger criminal fencing operations, are escalating at a rate they've never seen before.

The issue was recently highlighted in a viral video of a man ransacking shelves at a San Francisco Walgreens store and calmly riding out the door on a bicycle as a security guard and customers watched.

Andria Borba contributed to this story.

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