High rates of crime in San Francisco have tied the hands of Whole Foods executives, pushing the Austin-based retailer to shutter one of its newest supermarket locations in the city.

Whole Foods — an Amazon subsidiary and the largest American chain of specialty supermarkets — has announced that it is closing its flagship San Francisco store indefinitely due to concerns that the city’s crime was putting its staff at risk.

“To ensure the safety of our Team Members, we have made the difficult decision to close the Trinity store for the time being,” a Whole Foods spokesperson said in a statement, per the LA Times.

Employees who worked at the company’s 65,000-square-foot facility off 1185 Market St. will be transferred to nearby Whole Foods locations, according to the company.

Whole Foods’ decision to close one of its downtown stores did not surprise Matt Dorsey, a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, who shared his disappointment on Twitter.

“I believe we can do better as a city, but I will tell you the closure of Whole Foods after just a year of being open is a real gut punch for the neighborhood. And I wish I could say I was surprised, but I have seen a lot of the issues with people acting out and shoplifting,” Dorsey said, per Fox News.

The shuttered location does have the possibility of reopening in the future. However, a reopening would depend on the city’s ability to meaningfully respond to crime in the area and eliminate safety risks posed to Whole Foods employees, the company spokesperson added.

The most common crimes in San Francisco are larceny and theft, with 8,130 reported cases year to date, according to data from the San Francisco Police Department.

Theft in San Francisco has been on the rise for years, especially after a 2014 ballot referendum downgraded theft of goods valued less than $950 to a misdemeanor, the Foundation for Economic Education reported. A similar (though ultimately reversed) policy, covered extensively by The Dallas Express, was implemented by Dallas District Attorney John Creuzot, who elected not to prosecute thefts less than $750 in value.

In the years following San Francisco’s ballot measure, enforcement against shoplifters waned, and shoplifting became commonplace.

As a result, retail stores closing or outright leaving San Francisco is nothing new. In 2021, Walgreens and Target took steps to cut back their business presence in the area, citing “organized retail crime.”

As Ahsha Safaí, another member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, commented to The New York Times, “[Theft] has become part of the landscape.”

Thieves “are obviously choosing locales based on what the consequences are,” Safaí told the NYT. “If there are no consequences for their actions, then you invite the behavior. Over and over.”

At the end of 2022, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon highlighted the growing issue of theft at retail stores across the U.S., emphasizing that if local and state officials didn’t introduce measures to curb the problem, then prices at Walmart would go up and stores would close, CNBC reported.

Another city paying the price for its crime policies is Portland, Oregon, which recently saw each of its Walmart facilities closed due to theft.

“This is what happens when cities refuse to enforce the rule of law. It allows the mob to take over,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted in response to the Portland closures.

Abbott suggested that businesses and residents pay the price when criminal activity is allowed to grow and fester in a city.

“Businesses can’t operate in that environment, and people can’t live in it,” Abbott wrote.

Closer to home, a number of local supermarkets around Dallas have also been forced to close down due to the City’s failure to address out-of-control crime. Targeted supermarket theft in parts of Dallas has contributed to “food deserts” — geographic areas devoid of grocery stores, often due to companies relocating to lower-crime regions.

In 2020, the West Dallas supermarket Save U More shut its doors, citing crime and financial difficulties. The supermarket has since reopened as a Food Basket. Other supermarket brands that have left Southern Oak Cliff in recent years due to crime include Albertsons, Kroger Minyard, and Sack ’N Save, D Magazine reported.