SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — “You get cussed at. You literally get threatened. You will be attacked just for asking them to leave. It’s that bad. It’s really bad.”

Fifty-one-year-old Rafael Guttierrez has worked in the retail loss prevention industry off and on for the past 10 years. He says interacting with shoplifters in the city has always been fraught with risks, but he says it has become even more dangerous in recent years.

“We are not taking about your normal individual shoplifting a bag of chips or a soda. These people come in with backpacks, duffle bags, garbage bags,” Guttierrez said. “This is what they’re after. Filling those up. These ain’t your typical shoplifters. These people are aggressive. They will do whatever it takes to get what they need.”

Loss prevention employees have been on both sides of a pair of recent deadly shootings here in the Bay Area. Last month, guard Blake Mohs was shot to death by an alleged shoplifter at Home Depot in Pleasanton. That was followed by Walgreens armed security guard Michael Earl-Wayne Anthony killing unarmed alleged shoplifter Banko Brown in San Francisco.

“I warned people. I warned elected officials that if we didn’t start doing something, we are going to see more violence happening,” said Rachel Michelin, president of the California Retailers Association.

Michelin places the blame for the escalation of violent shoplifting incidents squarely on the shoulders of California lawmakers for rejecting a bill aimed at increasing the penalty for repeat shoplifters from a misdemeanor crime to a felony.

“People are brazen because they know they can go into a store. They can steal under $950 dollars and there will not be a consequence for the behavior,” said Michelin. “If these local jurisdictions and the state legislature, particularly the assembly public safety committee, continues to not want to work with us on making changes to make the retail environment safer, you’re just going to see more and more stores leaving.”

One San Francisco lawmaker is pursuing a different action to make the retail environment safer in the wake of the Banko Brown shooting, limiting the use of guns by security guards.

“We amend that local law and send a very clear message to security guards that you don’t draw your weapon over shoplifting or some threat to property,” said San Francisco Supervisor Dean Preston.

Rafael Guttierrez does not wear a firearm on the job. He says that is not a motivating factor for putting on his security guard uniform.

“I put that uniform on. I go to work. I go to help people who can’t help themselves. That’s your mother. That’s your father. That’s your grandmother. That’s your child who is in trouble. I’m going to be there,” he said.