Merchants on Fillmore Street in San Francisco were hit by more than a dozen "grab and run" thefts in August, leaving employees at the businesses feeling unsafe and owners calling for more police presence in the area.
“Many merchants feel the grab-and-run crimes are increasing and getting more violent,” Vas Kiniris, executive director of the Fillmore Merchants Association and the owner of the Zinc Details design shop, told the local website. “There have been no injuries so far, but employees tell us they feel unsafe in their work environment.”
The surge in thefts and increasingly brazen nature of the robberies, many of which have happened in broad daylight in front of employees, have pushed merchants to call for a stepped-up police presence in the area. They say that paying for security guards could be prohibitive, given the steep commercial rent in the area and margins already threatened by online retailers.
Lt. Michael Nevin of Northern Station told site that city police aren't positive that there's been a major uptick in crime in the area.
“I’m not certain there is a dramatic increase in crime,” Nevins, who oversees police patrols in the area, said. “What happens is that once people are talking about it on social media, which is useful, sometimes the stories are repeated over and over again.”