Walmart's out-of-control crime problem is driving police crazy


#1

bloomberg.com/features/2016-walmart-crime/

“Beginning as far back as 2000, when former CEO Lee Scott took over, an aggressive cost-cutting crusade led many stores to deteriorate. The famed greeters were removed, taking away a deterrent to theft at the porous entrances and exits. Self-checkout scanners replaced many cashiers. Walmart added stores faster than it hired employees. The company has one worker for every 524 square feet of retail space, a 19 percent increase in space per employee from a decade ago.”


#2

Yep. Remove security guards, cashiers and greeters and shoplifting and shrinkage are bound to follow. These stores and resturants engaging in this are reaping what they sowed by treating their workers like a line item.

We can all do something to help however. Particularly as it deals with those ‘self-service’ kiosks… don’t use them. If there’s an option to buy from, order with, etc… a real live person. Then do so. Panera Bread for example has instituted self service ordering kiosks, while laying off cashiers and removing cash registers. When I eat there I make a point of standing in the line for the cashier and when the manager tries to shuffle me over to the self service kiosk to shorten the line I inform him I’d rather order from a person, thanks. And it works. My local grocery store had self service kiosks, until people stopped using them enough to no longer justify their existence. :thumbsup:


#3

I agree with Padres. I dislike the self service check outs. I also need assist with bagging as I had an injury to one arm. Yes, they try to direct you to the self check out. The one thing I will say about our local Wal-Mart is that they have a pretty good group of workers who will assist you. Peace.


#4

It seems Walmart has determined that they are willing to take the hit in crime to save the money on employees.

I can’t really fault them for it; it’s just a calculation of risk they are willing to take.


#5

I know a person who is the security officer in a Walmart store and a lot of thefts take place at those self-serve checkouts. It’s extremely easy (and tempting) to do, since the scanner only knows about what you scan, not what you put in your take-out cart.

However, there are video monitors on every single one of them, and they get an excellent moving video of everything you do. I have seen some of their videos, and they’re very good. They also have video cameras covering every aisle, and from more than one angle. There is also always one security person on the floor pretending to be a customer, who watches anyone they think is suspicious.

Sooooooooo, “the eyes of Walmart are upon you”. :wink:


#6

I should have added this. To my understanding, the municipal and county prosecutors will prosecute Walmart thefts. But one thing that really troubles me is this: Walmart is starting a new program in which if they catch a first-time offender (there are a lot of repeaters) the offender will be offered a choice. He/she can either be prosecuted or go through a “I won’t steal anymore” program put on by Walmart itself. Costs $400, as I understand it, to avoid prosecution.

Trouble is, for a first offender on a minor theft (and most are pretty minor) the fine wouldn’t be anywhere near as high as $400 in most places, and the first time offender has an excellent chance at a “no record” plea bargain.

So, most of the time, the “I won’t steal” program under threat of prosecution is a terrible ripoff if it’s the way I understand it to be.

Maybe nobody steals again after the program, but I question that. Some thefts are petty things by somebody just seeing if he/she can do it. For others, stealing is a way of life that they absolutely won’t give up, because that’s how they finance their meth or whatever.


#7

I don’t think I have ever seen a ‘greeter’ below the age of probably 65 - 70. I’m not sure they were ever a deterrent for theft.

Self accountability goes out the window just as long as we can blame Walmart lol.


#8

One of the Walmarts in my area does not have self service checkouts, and because there were always lines and very slow clerks at the regular checkouts I quit going there. Another Walmart did have self service checkouts, but the clerk overseeing them acted like everyone at the terminals might be stealing. I go to 2 grocers that have self service terminals and have never been treated like that, so I stopped going to that Walmart too.

Now at the first store, before I stopped going, they may not have had greeters, but they did have people watching the exits, and I watched them watch black people go past the sensors and set off the alarm, then wait for the next white people to walk through, and stop and search their bags and receipts. Also at the first store, when they did have a long term greeter who was black, he would warmly greet black people and look away when white people were approaching him.

And people in society still think it is whites who are racist. I half expect someone here to cry me a river about how such racism is “just a reaction to oppression.”


#9

A new Walmart just opened up right down the street from my neighborhood. They still have greeters. They employ elderly people and people with disabilities. Kudos to them. They do have some self check-outs, but they are monitored by employees near the exit of the self-check-out area. There are plenty of manned check-outs too. Much of the stealing at Walmart is by their own employees.

There was a lot of uproar in my neighborhood when Walmart announced it would be opening a store on a vacant parking lot. The store has been open for a year now, and the feared increased traffic in the subdivision has not happened. It has brought increased traffic on the main road (Route 66), which is a good thing. Now Aldi’s is re-developing an abandoned strip mall right next to Walmart. The sales tax receipts have been a boon to my little inner ring suburb of St. Louis!

They also did a beautiful job of landscaping and lighting.

I find much of the disdain for Walmart to come from snobs. It serves the poor, who really can’t even afford Target. I found it a great resource to buy yoga pants and sweatshirts for my sister when she was in assisted living. One pair of sweatpants $7.00. Can’t beat that. :slight_smile:


#10

Walmart kills small businesses and so the community loses more retail jobs, it even more adversely affects small business owners who tend to give more to charity and participate in the community. Furthermore local businesses keep 50% more money in the community than Walmart. Walmart also reduces tax revenue after the initial bump.


#11

All that cost when shoplifting in general is not significant enough to be noticed by most companies…?

I work for a very large chain gas station/convenience store, years ago, they looked into it and found shoplifting and theft did not effect overall profit that much, after this and up to this day, they do not pursue or prosecute shoplifting, including fuel theft, in fact a store level manager or employee can be terminated for calling police or trying to hold a shoplifter at the store, all they can do is ask them to leave, but cannot ban them from the store either.

It may sound crazy, but my company is more concerned about possible negative hotline calls rather than actual theft!


#12

Must be a regional difference. Around here, they prosecute. If it’s misdemeanor level, it goes to the municipal courts. If it’s felony level, it goes to the county.

I think the type of merchandise matters a lot. I pay attention to the local cases, and for every gasoline “drive-away” there are 50 Walmart cases. And the convenience stores all have cameras and will prosecute. For every Lowe’s case, there are 25 or 30 Walmart cases.

I think some of the differences are due to the ease of doing it. If you know your car is on camera, your temptation to drive off is dampened because where are you going to hide and for how long? At Lowes, it’s might be easy to steal a few nuts and bolts, but how are you going to hide a belt sander under your coat or in your purse? And at Lowe’s there’s one way in and one way out. Now and then, they’ll catch somebody on camera, but not often.

With Walmart, you can change your shoes for new ones and leave your old ones behind new merchandise. You can put a LOT of expensive makeup underneath a purse. I know of one woman who hid something like $200 retail value of makeup in her child’s stuffed toy. (she got caught because of the cameras). There is a lot of little stuff in Walmart, and once you’re out the door without getting caught, you got it done.


#13

Hard to say. I live in a very small town with no Walmart. Most businesses here are small. With few exceptions, their only employees are the owners. Since a town this size can only have so many businesses, a Walmart would, of necessity, create more jobs, albeit very poorly-paid ones.

In almost any town of any size, small businesses must compete with larger ones (often not Walmart) who charge much less for similar merchandise. Unless a small business offers a unique, much-wanted service or merchandise, most small businesses stay small and offer very few jobs. With so much competition from larger businesses, having a small business grow to provide more jobs is slowly becoming a thing of the past.


#14

I agree. Walmart employs many and is good for the economy. Aldis seems to be setting up shop near a Walmart so that is good for consumers at least for grocery shopping. You’re right also about the disdain. It seems to be coming from a liberal elitist mindset.

I understand the nostalgia with local small shops but how many were they employing? And how much do you think mom and pop were paying their employee(s)?


#15

Question, if Walmart moves into town, employs 50 people and businesses that employed 75 people went out of business, did Walmart really create jobs? Then what happens when they decide it isn’t profitable enough and simply moves leaving the city lacking suppliers of basic goods?

The prices Walmart gets its goods force companies to decrease wages, is that good? It strong encourages companies to outsource, is that good?

The last research I read showed Walmart providing two jobs per three they destroyed, the math gets much worse when you consider places Walmart ditched. The mom and pop stores didn’t pay well either, but they didn’t treat their employees like wage slaves either.


#16

Well, everyone seemed to do just fine before all the big box stores came, like back in the days when it was only small mom/pop stores, they seemed to have made things worse in that sense.


#17

The walmarts around here prosecute shoplifters, actually from what Ive heard from employees, on average they are calling police about 5-10 times per day to come pick up shoplifters.

What I find strange, usually when a business has to constantly be calling police and waste their time, the city determines them to be a ‘nuisance business’ and if it keeps happening, I have seen them cite different motels and other places that seem to attract alot of criminal activity, I just wonder if any cities have labelled walmarts as a nuisance.


#18

I think some cities have kept Walmart out, but not for that reason.

Thieves are thieves, and most will steal from someone else if there is no Walmart available. My guess is that the frequency of Walmart thefts is a combination of things. First there is a lot of little stuff in Walmart that’s easy to conceal. Second, Walmart is high traffic compared to most stores, so there are just more people there, so more thieves. Third, Walmart seems an easy target even though it really isn’t. Aisle after aisle after aisle with nobody obviously watching.


#19

No it does not. It’s people’s choices where to shop that determines whether businesses survive or not.

it even more adversely affects small business owners who tend to give more to charity and participate in the community. Furthermore local businesses keep 50% more money in the community than Walmart. Walmart also reduces tax revenue after the initial bump.

Actually, Walmart has spurred businesses in my area. Sales tax revenues were dwindling. There were three empty shopping centers right next to each other in my small burb. Walmart began building on one. Shortly after Walmart began building on the one lot, three other stores began building on the adjacent lot: a Planet Fitness, Here Today, and a bank opened there. None of these stores were in the area. Now Aldi’s is opening on the third lot. Traffic has increased on the main route (Route 66), and this has benefited many small businesses along Route 66, which were ailing due to lack of traffic. No small businesses have closed in the 11 months that Walmart has opened, including a locally owned Ace hardware shop. My Walmart also has a grocery store. It has not affected the locally owned grocery store 1/2 mile down the road. Different customer base.

Interestingly, when my local Target upgraded its store to include groceries, nobody raised any concern that it was taking business away from the locally owned grocery store across the street.

Arguments that Walmart closes small businesses seem to me to be arguments that poor people should have not choice in where they can affordably shop.


#20

Edit to add, I am not a Walmart regular, but it did come in handy when I had to buy clothing for my sister while she was in hospice in a memory care unit. I couldn’t afford to buy a lot of expensive clothing for her, she needed ten outfits which needed to be replaced on a regular basis due harsh washing at the facility.


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