Video Shows What Happens When San Francisco Doesn't Prosecute Shoplifting

On Monday, Townhall’s Marina Medvin shared a tweet showing shoplifting in San Francisco that should be considered shocking; a young man simply rides through a pharmacy with a trash bag, steals whatever he can, and not only does security allow him to ride out of the store, it seems nobody even moves to call the cops.


It “should be shocking” but it is not. That is because as Medvin points out, San Francisco’s District Attorney does not prosecute this sort of theft. This is partly due to a 2014 ballot referendum in San Francisco “that downgraded the theft of property less than $950 in value from a felony charge to a misdemeanor,” according to Brad Polumbo, writing in Foundation for Economics Education. Adding, “In the years since, enforcement of shoplifting charges has waned significantly.”

Furthermore, Chesa Boudin, the adoptive son of Bill Ayer’s because Boudin’s own parents are spending their days in prison for their violent crimes committed as part of the Weather Underground (not making this up), campaigned on forgoing prosecution of what he calls “quality-of-life crime” as well placing shop-lifting and “petty-theft” low on his priority list of crimes to go after.

What’s a quality-of-life crime? Well, according to Boudin, crimes such as “crimes such as public camping, offering or soliciting sex, public urination, blocking a sidewalk” and more are considered “quality-of-life crimes.”


All of this has contributed to lawlessness in the Golden Gate City like never before. As a result, as shown in the video, stores like Walgreens suffer from rampant shoplifting. The corporate chain’s only reprieve has been to shut down 10 stores since 2019 in order to avoid loss of profit.

Recently, Matthew Donahue, an assistant district attorney in the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, attempted to defend his office by pointing out that they were prosecuting some shoplifters – but only “serial ones.” The rest he seemed to defend as having no choice but to steal.

Here’s what Donahue had to say regarding the 94 instances of shoplifting from Sept 1 – December 31, 2021:

Donahue noted that the issue of shoplifting “touches on a lot of the issues we’re facing as a city: homelessness, poverty, drug addiction.” Some shoplifters are only taking what they need for themselves; he described a man who went into a Walgreens store each week to take a package of toilet paper. Others steal larger amounts of goods and resell them to earn money to take care of their families, he said. His team is focused only on stopping serious, repeat offenders, especially violent ones.

This would seem to imply that Donahue is simply following his boss’s soft-on-crime approach a la restorative justice.


For those unfamiliar, restorative justice is the progressive philosophy regarding crime. Its basic definition is “a system of criminal justice that focuses on the rehabilitation of offenders through reconciliation with victims and the community at large.”

In other words, the solution to crimes is not punishment, but rehab and trusting that the criminal wants to change and be better and that the person committing said crime had no other choice — society forced him/her to do so.

So, all a criminal has to do is apologize, say he’ll commit to working hard, and prosecutors like Boudin give him a pass because, as Donahue referenced, these progressives believe that society–not the individual–is to blame for their crime.

To that extent, you’d be hard-pressed to find that society has ever forced a young man to ride through a pharmacy with a trash bag and snag whatever he can.

Maybe instead of imbibing from the church of progressivism, Boudin can listen to a priest from his city’s namesake’s religion; Roman Catholicism.

The now-deceased Bishop Fulton J. Sheen once said, “The danger today is in believing there are no sick people, there is only a sick society.”

He also stated, “There is a tendency among many shallow thinkers of our day to teach that every human act is a reflex, over which we do not exercise human control. They would rate a generous deed as no more praiseworthy than a wink, a crime as no more voluntary than a sneeze. . . Such a philosophy undercuts all human dignity. . . All of us have the power of choice in action at every moment of our lives.”


Indeed, perhaps progressives need to stop viewing society as the problem, start giving these criminals their rightful dignity, and recognize that they choose to commit crimes such as shoplifting which should rightfully be punished. Otherwise, San Francisco will continue to descend into anarchy.



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