In the past couple of days, CNN host Alisyn Camerota demonstrated that she'd be better informed if she got her news from her former employer at Fox as she ran two segments about a surge in shoplifting in San Francisco, but failed to link it to California's ridiculously liberal reforms that got softer on shoplifters.
On Thursday afternoon, the show ran a report by correspondent Dan Simon recalling that 17 Walgreens have closed in San Francisco in the past five years because shoplifting has been so out of control, noting the low prosecution rates and involvement of organized crime.
But the show made no mention of a law pushed by liberals in 2014 that gave criminals the right to shoplift as much as $950 and only be charged with a misdemeanor. Fox News Channel, on the other hand, ran a more informative report on the subject a couple of times within the previous hour on Thursday afternoon.
On Friday, the same CNN Newsroom show followed up by interviewing a member of the San Francisco board of supervisors, Democrat Ahsha Safai, and, in spite of spending an additional six minutes on the issue, the defective law was never addressed. After Safai blamed the large amount of theft on organized crime syndicates that employ shoplifters to steal from convenience stories and resell the products at a discount, Camerota asked why police are unable to stop the activity, and why the criminals are not being prosecuted.
After he vaguely spoke of the need to increase prosecution rates, and suggested that having more police deployed would decrease the lawbreaking, she followed up: "So just so I understand, are you saying that this shoplifting spree that we're seeing -- and that we just saw there with our own eyes -- is because there aren't enough cops on the beat?"
By the end of the interview, viewers were never informed that it is difficult to punish shoplifters unless they steal more than $950 in goods at once. But, on Thursday afternoon's America Reports with John Roberts and Sandra Smith on Fox News Channel, Fox contributor Joe Concha forthrightly informed viewers of a law passed in 2014 that has been a problem: "This is all because of something called Prop 47, and it's a referendum that lowered the penalty for stealing items under something like $950 from a felony to a misdemeanor."
Fill-in host Trace Gallagher soon added: "You have these retail organized gangs that are going store to store to store gaming the system. They are ripping off $1,000 worth of stuff -- they're walking out. They know there are no consequences."
The episode of Fox's America Reports was sponsored in part by USAA. Let them know you appreciate them funding such important information about the causes of out of control crime.
Transcript follows. Click "expand" to read more.
CNN Newsroom with Alisyn Camerota and Victor Blackwell
June 18, 2021
3:11 p.m. Eastern
AHSHA SAFAI, SAN FRANCISO BOARD OF SUPERVISORS: This is something that we've been focusing on in the last six to nine months, and I had a hearing about two months ago. And in that hearing, one of the biggest revelations that we heard that was shocking to myself and others was that 85 percent of the loss in these major retailers is due to organized retail crime.
ALISYN CAMEROTA: What does that mean? I mean, when you say "organized retail crime," you mean an organized gang is behind this? And what are they stealing?
SAFAI: So what they do, the individual you saw yesterday, he had a garbage bag, he went to a specific area of the store. They primarily target cosmetics, over-the-counter drugs, and they take them and sell them to a middleman. And then the middleman then sells it on the international market, markets in the United States, at flea markets. This is a multimillion-dollar industry. And because they know that they can recruit people that can hit one, two, maybe 10 stores in a day according to the representative from CVS that came to my hearing, they will walk away with thousands of dollars in merchandise that will then be resold at a discount, and there's a great demand for these products.
CAMEROTA: And why can't the police stop this?
SAFAI: So what I've asked for is -- and in my hearing, we had the district attorney, we had the police department, we've now followed up with a letter of inquiry. The thing that was shocking to me that it was organized retail crime -- that it was people that were recruited on behalf of larger syndicates that are selling them throughout the United States and internationally. We need to crack down. We need to say if people are hitting multiple stores in a day, there need to be aggregate charges. There needs to be more coordination between the police, district attorney, and the courts.
CAMEROTA: Okay, but are they not being prosecuted? Sorry to interrupt -- are they not being prosecuted?
SAFAI: They're not being prosecuted on the level that I think they need to be. And then here's the other thing -- we need to ensure that we break these up, and we're expending the resources that we need to turn this upside down. I mean, this is -- we lost 17 Walgreens in the last five years. There is only one Gap outlet left in San Francisco. It will -- it will have a deleterious impact on our economy and for those that need these goods and services. They're disappearing.
CAMEROTA: But it already is. I mean, if you're saying that there's been 17 Walgreens that have had to close and there's only one Gap left, that means that already they're winning -- the thieves are winning. And what's the point of having a security guard there if he can't stop them?
SAFAI: Right. I agree 100 percent. I mean, we had a private meeting with the leadership of Walgreens. We've asked them to invest more resources. I am also on the budget committee. We're putting more resources back into our police department to ensure that they have the appropriate staffing levels because when we do have police in those areas, the crime drops dramatically.
CAMEROTA: So just so I understand, are you saying that this shoplifting spree that we're seeing -- and that we just saw there with our own eyes -- is because there aren't enough cops on the beat?