A San Francisco Chronicle article claiming the shoplifting situation in San Francisco is improving is a perfect example of how the left deludes itself.
It’s also an example of how the establishment media are more interested in trolling than journalism.
The article’s premise is that viral videos (like this one) of brazen acts of shoplifting (combined with this New York Times article) have given the false impression San Francisco is facing a shoplifting reign of terror. Not true! shouts the Chronicle:
But has there actually been a surge in shoplifting in San Francisco? Data from the San Francisco Police Department suggests these reports may be overblown. According to the data, overall shoplifting incidents reported to the police are below their levels before the start of the pandemic. And before that, shoplifting rates had been decreasing more or less steadily since the 1980s.
But then a bunch of paragraphs later, the caveats begin to show up: [emphasis mine]
A recent survey of 22 large U.S. retailers found that while overall shoplifting apprehensions declined by about 41% from 2019 to 2020, “essential” retailers that didn’t close stores saw apprehensions increase by 8%. This survey suggests it’s possible that chain stores like Walgreens and CVS in San Francisco have seen shoplifting incidents increase. But public data does not indicate an overall spike in shoplifting in the city.
Or is it possible that that closed stores reported fewer incidents of shoplifting? I’m just asking questions.
And then we’re hit with even more hokum:
While shoplifting incidents haven’t surged this year or last, the rate of shoplifting incidents ending in citations or arrests did go down — a continuation of a decline that goes back at least as far as January 2018, the earliest month included in SFPD’s detailed incident data.
Here are the facts…
In 2014, and by a margin of 60 to 40 percent, the idiot voters of California passed Proposition 47, which reduced non-violent crimes — where the stolen property is valued at $950 and below — to a misdemeanor. Basically, if you walk into a Walgreens and steal $950 worth of stuff, you get a ticket. Since then….
Seventeen San Francisco Walgreens have been forced to close due to … shoplifting.
Incidents shmincidents. What more do you need to know than 17 San Francisco Walgreens have been forced to close due to shoplifting?
Shoplifting in San Francisco is so chronic that, on average, a Walgreens store has closed about once every 3.5 months over the last five years.
This is my favorite part of the Chronicle story: “This survey suggests it’s possible that chain stores like Walgreens and CVS in San Francisco have seen shoplifting incidents increase.”
Or, perhaps, the bigger stores are more efficient at making reports…?
Or, perhaps, it’s not the number of incidents people should be looking at but the amount of loot walking out the door with each incident? What was a pack of gum pre-Prop 47 is now a garbage bag full of merchandise?
Or, perhaps, stores are not reporting each and every incident because they know there’s no point? Near the bottom of the article, we’re told the police believe that to be the case.
Hey, sure, if you show me a video of something and scream, It’s an epidemic! I’m gonna roll my eyes. But when 17 Walgreens close in just five years…? Come on.
And naturally, this piece of “reporting” won the “reporter” an appearance on MSNBC.
But here’s the thing…
As much as the Chronicle might try, you can’t gaslight the public over quality of life issues.
What I mean is this: if the garbage isn’t being picked up and the potholes aren’t being filled, and the trains don’t run on time, and Walgreens are closing, and retailers are starting to inconvenience everyone by locking everything up, people notice. No amount of media spin can change that.
Cherry-picking numbers, burying caveats, ignoring basic facts (like multiple store closings), and not bothering to check other sources (like insurance companies) for additional data is not journalism. It’s lazy and arrogant propaganda. It fools no one.
Keep this in mind, though: The idea here is not to fool the people of San Francisco. There’s no need to fool those fools because those fools will continue to pull the “D” lever, even if it’s from within a Gulag. No, the goal is to try to fool the rest of the country into believing it’s safe to vote Democrat. The Chronicle wants us to believe this whole “Democrat-run City Crime Wave” narrative is false. Why else would the article go national with an MSNBC appearance?
But until the organized left (Democrats, media, Big Tech, academia, etc.) can force a private business to stay open even after it’s been looted $950 at a time into bankruptcy, they’re fooling no one but themselves.