CVS announced that they would be shuttering their Emeryville San Pablo Avenue location giving patrons one month to find an alternative for prescription pick-ups and other needs.
The closure will leave many Golden Gate and Triangle neighbors, many of them seniors, without a pharmacy within walking distance.
The closure touched off conversation on our social media channels that the decision might be at least partially due to a high level of theft and harassment of their employees at this location. The store has faced a litany of challenges over the years including looting, theft, frequent auto-burglary in their parking lot and assaults.
Regular patrons also noted that many of the locations’ products were behind locked cases to discourage shoplifting but making shopping less convenient.
A scrape of crime data provided by the EPD provided some validation to the theory showing 892 reported incidents of petty theft at the location over the past five years. The figure could easily be higher as retail theft is often considered an underreported crime by law enforcement agencies.
Many have noted a correlation between increasing retail theft and CA Proposition 47 that reduced penalties for theft below $950. The nonpartisan Public Policy Institute legitimized this concern stating that “it did contribute to an increase in larcenies—such as theft from motor vehicles and shoplifting” in a 2018 study.
Emeryville’s 2022 appointed Mayor John Bauters is a political lobbyist for the organization that wrote the controversial measure who are looking to bring similar “reforms” to other states.
A surge in CVS & Walgreens closures across the bay in San Francisco along with some viral theft videos touched off a conversation that the city’s permissiveness of retail theft was accelerating the stores’ closures.
Detractors pointed the finger at pressure from online sales and the company’s announcement last year that it would be closing 900 of its stores, or 10% of its footprint, over the next three years.
A company spokesperson provided a brief statement to SF Gate noting factors such as “local market dynamics, population shifts and a community’s store density.”
CVS is referring customers to their Pharmacy at the Emeryville-Oakland Target and their Berkeley Telegraph Avenue location.
Their final day will be September 8.