The number of arrests in San Francisco has fallen significantly over the past three years amid calls from prominent officials, including San Francisco Democratic Mayor London Breed, to defund law enforcement. Whole Foods will shutter a location at Trinity Place at Eighth and Market Streets over rampant drug use outside the store.
“We are closing our Trinity location only for the time being,” a spokesperson for Whole Foods said in a statement to the San Francisco Standard. “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 source in San Francisco City Hall told the outlet that drug use and criminal activity from individuals near the store played a role in the closure. The downtown portion of San Francisco has also suffered from declining foot traffic in the years since government lockdowns sequestered employees in their homes and apartments.
The Whole Foods location, which opened at the beginning of last year, was meant to be the flagship store for the brand in San Francisco and feature a variety of food products endemic to northern California, according to a press release from the organic grocery chain. The store’s design included “nods to classic San Francisco” architecture, such as the Golden Gate Bridge and the former Crystal Palace Market.
Crime in San Francisco has been blamed for severely diminishing the quality of life and contributing to a mass exodus of residents and businesses. Pharmacy giant Walgreens closed several locations in the city, while technology retailer Best Buy has struggled with safety issues related to organized retail crime. Technology companies such as Tesla and Oracle were among the 352 companies that moved their headquarters from northern California over the past four years, according to a report from the Hoover Institution, while nearly 8% of current residents plan to move elsewhere within the next year, surging past levels seen in every other major American city, according to data from the Census Bureau.
The closure of the Whole Foods location comes shortly after the murder of Bob Lee, a prolific technology entrepreneur and the founder of CashApp, as he visited the city from Miami for a business meeting. Lee was stabbed in the early morning hours; Tesla chief executive Elon Musk and former UFC champion Jake Shields were among the well-known individuals who criticized San Francisco leadership over the death of Lee and launched a renewed debate about crime and homelessness in the city.
Champion track cyclist Ethan Boyes was killed, and former fire commissioner Don Carmignani was attacked last week in San Francisco. The former was hit by a car that crossed the center line of the road, while the latter was attacked by a group of homeless people who slashed him in the face and beat him with a pipe in front of his mother’s house.