WHILE RETAILERS are cracking down on the growing problem of shoplifting, one company has found its new anti-theft measure failing.
Just a few weeks ago, the Safeway grocery store in San Francisco installed receipt scanners and security gates at the exit of the self-service checkouts.
The idea is that this would force shoppers to scan their sales receipt so the gates open and they can exit the store.
Previously, due to the higher crime rate in San Francisco, Safeway had to reconsider and strengthen its security measures, including forcing self-checkout users to go through an exit.
According to the city police, crime has increased by 15 percent after the closure of several shops in the area.
But despite Safeway’s best efforts, the new receipt scanning gates are failing as high levels of theft continue to occur on a daily basis.
A security officer at the store at 3350 Mission St said so The San Francisco Standard: “I would say 60 to 100.” [thefts] alone on my shift.”
Meanwhile, another worker at the Bernal Heights store said laundry detergent was a common item stolen.
As a result, retailers like Safeway have been forced to lock away items like laundry pads, toothpaste, shampoo and dietary supplements.
Another Safeway employee admitted that the problem “is worst at night” and that shoplifters are more likely to target non-food items.
The worker explained that to bypass the new scanners, thieves could simply break down the gate and leave.
She showed the reporter from the San Francisco Standard how to do this, using her hand to push the gate, which turned the normally green lights red and set off an alarm.
The security guard pointed to a couple of regulars and said, “I saw those two.” [before]”while pointing to a man and woman carrying backpacks.
“I didn’t see what they took, but these bags are definitely heavier than when they came in.”
The reporter from The Standard witnessed the couple going through the self-service checkout without stopping, even as they sounded the alarm.
The security guard was seen watching them leave without trying to stop them and said he had previously followed suspected shoplifters to the bus stop, where they fled.
As the security gates were being installed, a Safeway spokesman said, “Recently, changes were made at select Safeway locations in the Bay Area to ensure a safe and welcoming shopping experience for our customers and employees in the face of increasing theft rates.”
“These updates include operational changes to the stores front end to prevent shoplifting.
“Like other local businesses, we are working to curb escalating theft so we can ensure the well-being of our employees and create a welcoming environment for our customers.
“These long-planned security improvements were implemented with these goals in mind.”
The US Sun has reached out to Safeway for comment.