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New security measures taken at Chula Vista Ralphs to prevent shoplifting

Small ticket items at Ralphs are now being locked up or kept out of the main aisles and placed into more restricted areas.

CHULA VISTA, Calif. — Shoppers across San Diego County are noticing more grocery and retail stores take new steps to prevent shoplifting.

Ralphs on East Palomar Street in Chula Vista is the latest store to upgrade their security. Customers will now have to purchase specific items like bath and body products and even vitamins at designated registers.

"It’s crazy, absolutely crazy," said one shopper.

Small ticket items at Ralphs are now being locked up or kept out of the main aisles and placed into more restricted areas.

"Everything is locked up. Today I had to buy Zyrtec, and they had it locked up," said shopper Laura Magallana.

"It’s a good preventative measure that they take because even though it’s a corporation and it’s a huge company, they still run a business, and it must be frustrating losing money like that," said another shopper, Roberto Sevilla.

New safety walls were installed less than a week ago. They require shoppers to buy products like shampoo, body wash, deodorant, supplements, soaps, and more to be checked out at an independent cash register built inside. Feminine hygiene products and laundry detergents were locked away. 

A cash register is also expected to be placed inside the liquor department.

Anyone looking for these items will have to pay for them before they can continue to other parts of the store. 

People who shop here say they’ve seen shoplifters in action. Some said it happens more often than it should.

"Especially after Tik-Tok started with the trends of kids like stealing things and stuff like that, you started noticing they’re taking preventative measures," said Sevilla.

"Kids especially are desperate, and they’ll go in and take whatever they need," added Magallana.

Others fear the thefts will drive up already high prices.

"People are getting to be very inconsiderate; they don’t care about the other person," said shopper Ingrid Frost.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Ralphs said the company is constantly working to provide the best possible customer experience and adds that:

“We are constantly evaluating and improving our security measures.”

Retailers across San Diego County are taking similar steps to address an uptick in crime. Which many say has gotten worse after the pandemic and high inflation. But those we spoke to say that’s never an excuse to steal.

"The pandemic and inflation should have nothing to do with morals," said Sevilla.

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