Safeway Shoplifting Policy: What Happens When You Get Caught Stealing?

The year 2020 presented some of the toughest challenges for grocery stores and supermarkets. Retailers experienced a 13% increase in shoplifting and recovered $49 million from shoplifters. In light of these incidents, most stores like Walmart, Kroger, and Safeway are now tightening up their security systems with Artificial Intelligence (AI).

This post will explore the Safeway shoplifting policy and other frequently asked questions about theft in the store.

What is Safeway’s shoplifting policy?

Most Safeway stores have a “no-chase” or “no-touch” policy. So if low-level Safeway employees notice a customer shoplifting, they aren’t allowed to apprehend the customer even if they’re about to leave the store. Instead, they can report the matter to a Loss Prevention (LP) officer or Manager. 

The above authorities have the right to approach the customer and apprehend him within the store. However, management is prohibited from following or tracking the customer if they exit the building or premises before apprehension. 

Any low-level employee other than the LP officers or Managers who apprehends a customer without reporting it first could be fired from their jobs. The reason for this lenient Safeway shoplifting policy is to avoid lawsuits. 

In the process of chasing or confronting shoplifters, both the shoplifter and employee could get hurt. For example, a Safeway employee was once stabbed multiple times in a confrontation with a shoplifter. So the idea is that it’s better to lose a few dollars on products than to attract a lawsuit or medical bill that’ll cost the store thousands of dollars.

What happens if you’re caught shoplifting at Safeway?

If you’re caught shoplifting at Safeway, the LP officers can call the police to take you into custody. They may apprehend you in the Manager’s office during that time until the police arrive. 

If the stolen items are not worth more than $900, the LP officers would either give you a ticket or ban you. This can be limited to the Safeway store you robbed or a company-wide ban. Either way, it means you can’t shop there ever again. 

Person holding small metal shopping basket with groceries inside it

Some Safeway stores may limit the ban to a specific timeframe. E.g., one year. But you can try contacting the store Managers to discuss the terms of accessing the store in the future. It would be best if you considered shopping somewhere else. Here’s a list of the 15 best grocery stores in the United States you can check out.

Safeway LP officers can also fine you for the crime. This fine usually costs you from $50 to $500. They may also give you a deadline to pay the fine, after which the store can take legal actions against you if you fail to pay. 

But overall, your punishment comes down to certain factors. For example, the value of the stolen items and if you’re a first-time offender. Some Safeway stores may even decide to let you off the hook with a warning. 

Does Safeway have video surveillance?

Safeway has video surveillance cameras installed in most of its stores. However, no one is actively watching you on them. It’s only in cases where you’re suspected of shoplifting. Then the store employees can watch the video footage from that day to gather evidence. 

CCTV camera mounted on the wall

But it’s rare for the store to pile up cases against shoplifters. Safeway is serious about its “no-touch” shoplifting policy, so it’s unlikely that the store will come after you days after you’ve shoplifted. Unfortunately, this makes Safeway one of the most vulnerable stores to business losses incurred from theft.

Note that store management varies across states in the USA. So some Safeway locations might be harsh in punishing shoplifters. They could even go as far as hiring tough security guards to patrol the store. 

How does Safeway prevent shoplifting?

As aforementioned, Safeway is lenient with its shoplifting policy. So how does the store combat shoplifting? Besides using CCTV cameras, Safeway has installed automatic security gates in some of its locations. 

The gates swing open when you enter the store and immediately shut themselves behind you. This way, shoplifters can’t quickly dash out of the store with stolen goods.

The store has also installed barriers at the self-checkout stations to restrict customer movements. Shoplifters who plan to dash out with a cart full of groceries would have a tough time doing that now.


Safeway prioritizes the safety of its employees over apprehending shoplifters. This is why the store has a “no-touch” or “no-chase” policy. While Safeway seems like an easy target for shoplifters, we strongly advise against stealing. 

Keep in mind that if you’re caught, you’re looking at the possibility of misdemeanor and felony charges. You could spend months or even a year in jail. You could also be fined for hefty amounts ranging from $1000 to $10,000. In the end, it’s not worth risking your freedom and clean record for a couple of grocery items.

We hope you find this post helpful!

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