Tue. Feb 20th, 2024

One of the largest supermarkets in Downtown San Francisco has closed down just one year after opening due to widespread drug use, theft and aggressive behavior towards staff members.  

Organic food giant Whole Foods opened a new ‘flagship’ location at Trinity Place in the city’s Tenderloin district in March 2022, hoping to revitalize footfall after two years of draconian COVID restrictions severely impacted businesses in the area.

But a Whole Foods spokesperson declared the store closed down last night due to safety concerns for its staff. ‘We are closing our Trinity location only for the time being,’ the spokesperson said in a statement. ‘If we feel we can ensure the safety of our team members in the store, we will evaluate a reopening of our Trinity location.’ 

A City Hall source told The San Francisco Standard the company cited deteriorating street conditions around drug use and crime near the store as the driving factors behind the closure. DailyMail.com has contacted Whole Foods for comment. 

It comes just days after Cash App founder Bob Lee was stabbed to death just over a mile away as residents flee San Francisco amid rising crime rates. 

Facing growing criticism, San Francisco Mayor London Breed has urged people not to ‘jump to conclusions’ about the high profile murder and a separate attack on a former fire commissioner. 

Organic food giant Whole Foods opened a new 'flagship' location at Trinity Place in the city's Tenderloin district in March 2022

Organic food giant Whole Foods opened a new ‘flagship’ location at Trinity Place in the city’s Tenderloin district in March 2022

A Whole Foods spokesperson declared the store closed down last night due to safety concerns for its staff amid rampant drug use, theft and aggressive behavior in the area (homeless people consume drugs in street encampments in downtown SF)

A Whole Foods spokesperson declared the store closed down last night due to safety concerns for its staff amid rampant drug use, theft and aggressive behavior in the area (homeless people consume drugs in street encampments in downtown SF)

'Zombie-like' drug addicts are pictured using and strung-out on drugs in Downtown San Francisco, CA. Thursday, April 6, 2023

‘Zombie-like’ drug addicts are pictured using and strung-out on drugs in Downtown San Francisco, CA. Thursday, April 6, 2023

A City Hall source told The San Francisco Standard that Whole Foods cited deteriorating street conditions around drug use, violent behavior towards staff and crime as the main factors behind the closure

A City Hall source told The San Francisco Standard that Whole Foods cited deteriorating street conditions around drug use, violent behavior towards staff and crime as the main factors behind the closure 

The Trinity Place Whole Foods store suffered problems from the moment it opened its doors in March 2022, with managers in October reducing operating hours due to ‘high theft’ and hostile visitors.

One month later, the store announced customers would only be able to access the toilets with a valid QR code after syringes and pipes were found littering the bathroom floor. 

Meanwhile, San Francisco Supervisor Matt Dorsey claimed a Whole Foods employee had told him there were no longer any baskets available for shoppers because all 250 had been stolen. 

Dorsey told the San Francisco Chronicle that people were ‘acting out’ in the store and Whole Foods could no longer guarantee the safety of its employees. 

‘It’s obvious to me that, as an employer, Whole Foods has a lot of concerns about the safety of their employees, and ultimately that’s why they made the decision to close,’ Dorsey said.

‘I wish they hadn’t, but I’ve also been in there and seen some things that are off-putting.’ 

The Democrat later announced in a series of tweets on Monday that he would introduce a ballot measure next year to fully staff the city’s police department within five years.

His plan calls for a minimum staffing level of 2,182 officers —a number previously recommended in an analysis the city uses to decide how many officers it should hire. But the police force currently only has about 1,500 officers, according to the Chronicle.

For his plan to be put on the ballots next year, Dorsey would need to get a majority of the 11-member board. If that fails, supporters could launch a signature-gathering campaign. 

Violent crimes across San Francisco have risen 7.5 per cent over the past three years

Violent crimes across San Francisco have risen 7.5 per cent over the past three years

Democratic lawmaker Matt Dorsey announced he is introducing legislation to fully restore the police force within five years

Democratic lawmaker Matt Dorsey announced he is introducing legislation to fully restore the police force within five years

‘Our neighborhood waited a long time for this supermarket, but we’re also well aware of problems they’ve experienced with drug-related retail theft, adjacent drug markets, and the many safety issues related to them,’ he wrote of the Whole Foods’ closure.

He added: ‘Whole Foods’ closure — together with many other safety-related challenges we’ve seen recently — is Exhibit A as to why San Francisco can no longer afford NOT to solve our police understaffing crisis.

‘San Franciscans — or at least the ones I represent in District 6 — are demanding solutions, and they have a right to expect that from those of us in City Hall. I hope my colleagues will support this effort. We owe our residents nothing less.’ 

Violent crimes across San Francisco have risen 7.5 per cent over the past three years, with property crime surging 20.7 per cent over the same period. 

So far in 2023 there have been 1,687 incidents of larceny theft, 286 burglaries and 190 assault cases in the Tenderloin and neighboring Southern district of San Francisco alone, according to SFPD data as of April 9

San Francisco has seen an exodus of residents as a result of the crime rates – the county experienced the second-largest population decline of any region in California between April 2020 and July 2022 at 7.1 per cent.

At the same time, a report by San Francisco officials in August estimated that up to 20,000 people in the city would experience homelessness at some point in 2022.

Drug addicts are pictured stumbling through the streets of San Francisco last week

Drug addicts are pictured stumbling through the streets of San Francisco last week

Whole Foods closed its doors just days after Cash App founder Bob Lee was stabbed to death in San Francisco’s Southern district last week – one of four stabbing incidents that week alone.

Lee, 43, was stabbed several times in the chest as he walked in the city’s Rincon Hill neighborhood at 2:35am in the Southern district – just over a mile away from the Whole Foods Trinity store.

San Francisco Police Officers Association’s vice president, Lt. Tracy McCray, said the police force is understaffed and the entire neighborhood is now at a tipping point. 

‘We are short staffed so just our presence in patrolling is severely lacking right now. To see a certain uptick in crime is to be expected but I think we are now at a precipice where we could go one way or the other,’ McCray said. 

Locals told DailyMail.com they blamed the increasing violence on the ‘soft-on-crime’ progressive policies brought in by the likes of former District Attorney Chesa Boudin, who was tossed from office in a recall election last year. 

‘It’s too liberal. Too much. And we’re paying for it,’ said one. 

‘Repeat offenders are back out on the streets in a heartbeat and there’s nothing we can do about it. We’re scared.’ 

Tech executive and investor Bob Lee helped create Android and Cash App who was stabbed to death last week

Tech executive and investor Bob Lee helped create Android and Cash App who was stabbed to death last week

San Francisco Police Lieutenant Tracy McCray, currently the President of the San Francisco Police Officers Association

San Francisco Police Lieutenant Tracy McCray, currently the President of the San Francisco Police Officers Association

Father-of-two Lee relocated from San Francisco to Miami last year because he was worried about the West Coast city’s soaring crime rate and rampant homelessness, according to friends. 

He returned on a business trip and was attacked while walking through the Southern district.

Video provided to DailyMail.com revealed how Lee, the former chief product officer at crypto firm MobileCoin, staggered along Main Street and tried to flag down a passing car for help, to no avail. 

Lee then stumbled 70 yards back down Main Street towards an apartment complex – but collapsed as he reached for the door entry system.

Bloodied and dazed, Lee was able to ring cops himself to say he’d been stabbed but couldn’t give his precise location. 

First responders reached the fading tech exec within six minutes but by then it was too late.

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