Running into a store because you need something quickly can turn into a headache when they’re locked away. Shoppers in Mission Valley say that’s what they’re seeing at Target.
“I’d be more likely to skip the product than sit and wait,” said Emily Schiffer, who lives in Mission Valley. “Unless I really need it.”
Schiffer says she hadn’t noticed the new security measures at the Target on Camino Del Rio, but locking items up is inconvenient.
“It’s like you’re just waiting and waiting,” said Lupita Herrera, who shops at that location. “Obviously sometimes you’re in a hurry.”
Herrera says all kinds of everyday products are now locked away, requiring you to wait for a team member to grab something you want to buy.
“Detergent, makeup, even deodorant,” said Herrera. “It’s just all locked up.”
So why did Target start locking away smaller products?
Data from the San Diego Police Department shows a sizeable increase in thefts. In 2021, there were a total of 39 thefts, including shoplifting and petty theft. By mid-September of 2022, there had already been 105 reported thefts, including several reports of grand theft, when someone stole items worth more than $950.
Those numbers aren’t the entire picture, because all thefts might not be reported to the police.
In a statement, Target told NBC 7:
At Target, we take a multi-layered approach to combating theft. This includes in-store technology, training for store leaders and security team members, and partnerships with law enforcement. On a limited basis, we also employ theft-deterrent merchandising strategies, such as locking cases, for categories that are prone to theft. While we don’t share specifics on these strategies, these decisions are generally made at a local level.
But shoppers are still left dealing with the locked cases.
“It sucks for the people who don’t shoplift,” said Herrera.
Target is not alone in doing this. Other retailers like Walmart have locked products away or even created separate sections of the store for highly-targeted items. Some shoppers say if there was more help for people in our communities, companies might not have to lock products away.
“I think it starts somewhere else besides security,” said Schiffer. “I think it starts with providing resources for impoverished people and people who experience homelessness and addiction and other mental illnesses.”