Another company is calling it quits in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s home city.
Outdoor active-wear brand Cotopaxi is closing its San Francisco store after only a year following rampant theft that left the store’s staff “terrified.”
The company’s founder, Davis Smith, announced the closing in a LinkedIn post Tuesday.
“It’s sad, but San Francisco appears to have descended into a city of chaos,” he wrote. “Many streets and parks are overrun with drugs, criminals, and homelessness, and local leadership and law enforcement enable it through inaction.
“One of the most beautiful and amazing cities in the world is now a place where many no longer feel safe visiting or living.”
According to San Francisco Police Department data, overall crime in San Francisco is up 7.4 percent so far this year compared to the same period last year. But that number tells only part of the story.
In some districts of the city, crime was up over 20 percent. The data also includes only those crimes reported to the police; one would expect that as crime increases and law enforcement shows a general unwillingness or inability to act, reporting would die off even though crime is alive and well.
Moreover, the SFPD uses a “hierarchy rule,” so that in incidents involving multiple reported offenses, “only the highest offense is represented in the dataset.”
In other words, the only thing we can say for sure about crime in San Francisco is that the SFPD database doesn’t capture it all.
Smith’s post not only lamented the crime, but the refusal of local officials to address it.
“We opened a retail store a year ago on Hayes Street, the charming shopping district just blocks away from the famous Full House home,” he wrote. “Our first week there, our windows were smashed and thousands of dollars of product was stolen. We replaced the window, and it immediately happened again (four times). We replaced with window with plywood as we waited for a month+ to get a metal security gate installed (demand for those gates is creating huge delays).”
As a result, he said, the company was left with no choice but to shutter the location, one of 10 that had been operated by Cotopaxi. The company website lists the location as “temporarily closed,” but Smith didn’t sound optimistic about the chances that it would re-open any time soon.
“As of today, we are closing the store due to rampant organized theft and lack of safety for our team. Our store is hit by organized theft rings several times per week. They brazenly enter the store and grab thousands of dollars of product and walk out. We started keeping the door locked and opening it only for customers, but even then, they’ll have a woman go to the door, and then hiding individuals rush into the store as soon as the door opens.
“Our team is terrified. They feel unsafe. Security guards don’t help because these theft rings know that security guards won’t/can’t stop them.”
The rule of law is fundamental to human flourishing. Without governmental authorities bearing their sword to the terror of bad actors, chaos ensues.
“For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad,” Paul tells us in Romans. “Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.”
That’s why, he says, we pay taxes — a point not lost on Smith.
“It’s impossible for a retail store to operate in these circumstances, especially when cities refuse to take any action (despite us paying taxes well above any other state we operate in),” he wrote. “The city recently announced a reduction of police presence in this neighborhood, despite mass-scale crime.”
Smith expressed his sorrow at closing a shop in a city he is fond of — but that’s when he made his most striking point:
“I grew up in Latin America and spent much of my adult life there, and I never felt this unsafe there. Something has to change in San Francisco.”
Something has to change in more places than San Francisco, I’m afraid. I tend to be pretty optimistic about such things, but even I have to wonder if it’s not too late.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.