SFPD to Lead Organized Retail Crime Initiative

Recently, Mayor London Breed announced San Francisco’s new Organized Retail Crime Initiative, which aims to increase reporting, investigating and solving of retail theft

cases and the criminal enterprises that bolster them. The San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) will head up the effort via a partnership with local retailers and regional law enforcement agencies.

“Retail theft and commercial burglaries are not victimless crimes,” said Mayor Breed. “They hurt working families due to reduced work hours, shuttered stores and lost jobs.” She added that these crimes also hurt customers and seniors “who are losing convenient access to prescription medications and vaccinations because of pharmacy closures” and also hurt neighborhoods “suffering from fewer local retailers and more empty storefronts.”

The mayor said that the initiative “brings the full partnership of state and local law enforcement and retailers to bear to aggressively pursue, investigate and deter organized retail crime in San Francisco.”

According to the mayor’s office, the initiative has three key aspects:

Expanding and reallocating police investigative resources: Per the mayor’s office, this includes increasing the SFPD’s Organized Retail Crime Unit from two to five investigators and adding one dedicated lieutenant to better investigate crimes locally and to work regionally with the California Highway Patrol’s Organized Retail Crime Task Force.

Strategic restructuring of publicly and privately funded deployments: This involves dedicating SFPD personnel to ensure tightly-coordinated field operations and

communications with retail partners; tripling the SFPD Community Ambassador program—which employs retired SFPD officers to patrol and serve as deterrence—and

expanding geographic area served; and managing privately funded deployment of 10B officers to focus on deterrence, per the mayor’s office.

Public-private partnerships aimed at reporting, investigating and solving cases: According to the mayor’s office this involves increasing the reporting of crimes through expansion of Teleserve Unit, which was implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic to take reports without in-person contact.

“Mayor Breed directed us to develop a plan to maximize the impact of SFPD’s resources by strengthening our partnerships with retailers and law enforcement agencies, and leveraging our successes from such previously announced strategies as our Mid-Market Vibrancy and Safety Plan and Tourism Deployment Plan,” said SFPD Chief Bill Scott.

“The result is our Organized Retail Crime Initiative, and we are incredibly grateful for the participation of local retailers whose partnerships are making this endeavor truly groundbreaking. This collaborative approach reflects the full promise of community policing—not solely to support our City’s economic recovery, but to better protect public safety that is too often endangered by retail theft crews and the sophisticated criminal enterprises funding them,” the chief added.

Learn more about the mayor’s Organized Retail Crime Initiative plan here.