Walmart Blamed For Extreme Police Burden

In Tampa Bay, FL, some city officials are protesting the burden Walmart is putting on the police. It is an interesting scenario because is this really Walmart's fault? More broadly, how much should business be responsible for incidents?

A few key quotes:

seven of the 10 places deputies responded to most in a year were Walmarts

Walmarts place a heavier load on local authorities than any other business. Walmarts across the region accounted for nearly 16,800 police calls in just one year, the Times found. That's two calls an hour, every hour of every day.

In Largo, two of the top three places police were called to the most in a year were Walmarts. Fenger said the theft calls for small items, such as a bottle of soda or bag of candy, are especially frustrating.

Walmart response: "We have invested, and continue to invest, in robust technologies and crime prevention efforts while also working with law enforcement and security professionals."

What do you think?


Many cities and towns require that an "impact study" be conducted whenever a large development of any kind is being planned. One part of these studies involves determining what impact the development will have on local police and fire department resources. Elected officials then determine how much tax revenue will be brought in by the new development to see if it is proportionate to the amount of any additional police, fire and other public services that will be required.

While the number of calls for service to the Walmart stores does seem to be large, I would be curious to see these expressed relative to the amount of tax revenue that the stores generate, such as .005 calls per dollar of tax received. If expressed this way, I would guess that many other types of smaller businesses (such as 7-11 stores, nightclubs, liquor stores) probably require more police resources relative to tax revenue than a Walmart store does.

yes its wal- marts fault that people are so sorry they have to cause trouble and steal things.

they are forcing people to steal soda and candy, family fight night, and lets not leave out when the EBT system is down and its a free-for-all.

Walmart, the new heroin/meth/crack/(insert drug here)

I think if Walmart wasn't there, these thefts would have happened elsewhere. And, to that point, possibly unknown by the other merchant. If Walmart replaced a bunch of local mom and pop stores when they came to town, those businesses may or may not have had the same level of LP that Walmart can afford. Therefore, the crime rate hasn't risen, it was underreported before.

On the other hand, maybe the alleged thieves target Walmart due to it being a huge corporation, where they might have been reluctant to do so at the local mom and pop joint. But, is that Walmarts fault?

In the end, it's still blaming the victim.

Why not put a local judge onsite and adjudicate these crimes on premise with fines until the crime goes down?

The benefits would be:

1. less burden to the judicial system

2. faster realization of revenue to the city of Tampa

3. reduction of crime

Regarding point #3. After a while word will get out and crime will go down ( I suspect).

As soon as crime goes down and everyone is placated, the judge will be excused and the whole mess will start over again. I don't think our justice system needs to adjust to the needs of a single retailer.

If anything, Walmart might want to start a PR campaign battling the issue. Encourage parents to teach their kids that stealing is bad. It worked for the Reagans with the Just Say No campaign.

It worked for the Reagans with the Just Say No campaign.

It did?

"Nancy Reagan's related efforts increased public awareness of drug use, but a direct relationship between reduced drug use and the Just Say No campaign cannot be established, although the use and abuse of illegal recreational drugs significantly declined during the Reagan presidency."

We work with PDs across the county and Walmart is always a problem for them.

What I hear is that it's the way that Walmarts LP operates helps encourage the criminal activity.

So LP makes them steal?

what does that mean? How does a LP team's efforts encourage criminal activity?

Instead of Walmart being charged, the police should pay them!

What's more convenient than one-stop shopping for everything, including criminals?

If the Walmart is an attractor to perps then so be it!

The PO should just collocate space inside the Walmart.

Kick out McDonalds and replace the Golden Arches with these:

If Walmart is a "Burden" to the police it is only because they prosecute shop lifters who are breaking the law. It is the SHOPLIFTERS who are the real burden. Now all the shoplifters and grifters are in one easy location.

However, the police have to allowed to ENFORCE the laws as written and are being prevented from doing so by certain forces within the Dept of Justice.

If the criminal contingent hasn't quite figured it out, the police don't usually bother you if you are not breaking the laws!

However, the police have to allowed to ENFORCE the laws as written and are being prevented from doing so by certain forces within the Dept of Justice.

Please tell us more about these "certain forces" that you refer to. Which side of the force are they on exactly? Dark?

The case of LP being shot and killed by a shoplifter has forced policy change. From what Ive heard, these policy changes have made it easier for shoplifters to be able to get away with more.

Its more a function of Walmart's policy, but also some LP going a bit too far

...these policy changes have made it easier for shoplifters to be able to get away with more.

Which makes them try more and get caught more?

Sounds like legalized entrapment, what's the beef then?

Looks like the government is getting involved now. US Senator sends letter to Wal-Mart CEO

WalMart and many other retailers are a part of the LPRC (Loss Prevention Research Council) based at the University of Florida.

This organization is tasked with finding the best way to deter and then detect this activity and more.

If WalMart could drop their loss due to internal and external theft by just 1/100th of 1% it would be huge for them.

If they don't prosecute a shop lifter, then no history exists. If they do, very little is done until it reaches a threshold and the bad guys know the threshold. The ones that don't are amateurs and stupid or drugged out.

Many large malls have sub-stations in them. Maybe that earlier suggestion would help. I can see the follow up complaints when other retailers then shift to "being the problem."

Damned if you do, damned if you don't. I can say they are actively involved in managing this issue.

in the meantime I have watched teens walk into my local grocery store, eat food from inside, fill up a drink cup and leave. These are neighborhood kids and everyone just watched. This store chain has a policy to leave them alone.

Maybe Wal-mart is a criminal attractor...

God tells woman to drive car into Wal-Mart.

No reports of God telling anyone to drive into Target, etc.

Interesting article. I never really thought about personnel count when I have been in a Walmart store. Looking back on it I don't really remember seeing many people outside the front POS lines. The electronics section always had a presence but everywhere else seemed empty. Target does typically have at least 3 LP personnel on a shift.

Walmart is also open either really late or 24 hours... that is sure to skew their number upwards.