By Paige Laver
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Officials from across the Bay Area are making an effort to ensure the safety of San Francisco residents amid “roving robbery caravans,” after a new video was released of a smash-and-grab burglary at a clothing store in Oakland earlier this week.
It’s the latest in a series of burglary cases that have been happening from San Francisco to Walnut Creek, and beyond.
The San Francisco Mayor, San Francisco District Attorney, and California Highway Patrol spoke out about recent retail crime, just as Oakland City Council Members and the Walnut Creek Mayor did a few days prior.
San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin announced felony charges against five individuals who are believed to have been involved in the Union Square Louis Vuitton store burglary theft this past Friday.
“We stand here in solidarity, united, and we have your back. We will do whatever it takes to keep San Francisco safe,” said Boudin at a news conference Tuesday.
The California Highway Patrol announced Tuesday it is increasing patrols on the freeway corridors adjacent to major shopping centers across the state.
“I want to do the store experience, I’m going to probably go 60 to 90 miles outside of the Bay Area,” said Vivian Flaherty, an Oakland resident and one of the dozens who went to ABC7 News Reporter J.R. Stone’s Facebook page, commenting they don’t feel safe shopping in Bay Area stores, and will be taking their business to other shopping malls.
“People just don’t feel safe going out as they did before. You could be at a Target anywhere if you are shopping, if you’re driving, and there’s a feeling now from Sacramento all the way down that something has got to be done about that,” said ABC7 News Insider Phil Matier.
Flaherty related those thoughts and reported that she was on her way home from the Bayfair Center Mall in San Leandro on Nov. 20 when a car being chased by another car crashed in front of her.
“The guy had a big gun in his hand. He jumped out of the car really fast and then jumped into another car. I was so traumatized like my whole body was in shock. My head hurt from what happened on that freeway,” said Flaherty.
A reason why law enforcement agencies and public officials are now trying to tackle these crimes highlight issues that have also been reflected in other parts of the country, like Chicago.
“This is not based on one administration or one policy, this is a trend we’re seeing across the country, it has nothing to do with my policies, it has nothing to do with the effectiveness of the San Francisco Police Department,” said Boudin.
Mayor Breed, though, made it known that she is confident of full prosecution in these cases.
“Once the arrests are made we are hopeful the DA will prosecute,” said Mayor Breed.