Walmarts are high-crime zone thanks to staff cuts, but America gets the bill

Your last line sure seems like it is sarcastic, but I’m still not convinced that Walmart are to blame for people engaging in criminal behavior at Walmart, rather than the people who are engaging in the behavior itself? The only thing the articles seem to indicate Walmart should be doing fall along the lines of 1.) Hire more security staff. 2.) Don’t have stores with locations/hours/prices that appeal to “a certain class of people”. And… your strongly implied 3.) Accept that you will be stolen from repeatedly, and you shouldn’t bother law enforcement, as a business you must bear a certain level of criminality and theft, because the police/tax payers can’t handle the burden of all of the thieves/drunks/etc. in our society.

I’m sure additional security staff would help, it would be good of them to consider it.

For your consideration (my emphasis added):

A Wal-Mart–crime relationship exists. If Wal-Mart did not build in a county, property crime rates fell by an additional 17 units per capita from the 1990s to the 2000s. A marginally statistically significant, yet stable, effect for violent crime was also observed, falling by two units per capita. [abstract]

Rolling Back Prices and Raising Crime Rates? The Walmart Effect on Crime in the United States (British Journal of Criminology) [note: full text is paywalled; I’ll post highlights once I’ve had time to read the article.]

As announced by the University of South Carolina:

Leading author Scott Wolfe, assistant professor of criminology and criminal justice at the University of South Carolina: “There have been dozens of studies on the ‘Wal-Mart effect’ showing the company impacts numerous outcomes closely related to crime. Our objective was to determine if the Wal-Mart effect extended to understanding crime rates during arguably one of the most pivotal historical periods in the study of crime."

This was the part I found most interesting:

[According to Wolfe], Wal-Mart tended to expand in counties with higher than average crime rates. These counties were more likely see Wal-Mart build even after accounting for crime-related predicators, such as poverty, unemployment, immigration, population structure and residential turnover.
Co-author David Pyrooz, assistant professor of criminal justice and criminology at Sam Houston State University: “Counties with more social capital—citizens able and willing to speak up about the best interests of the community—tend to have lower crime rates. Counties with more crime may have less social capital and, therefore, less ability to prevent Wal-Mart from building.”


So can you summarize why they think Walmarts breed crime? Is it they are just a large target, attracting criminals?

I mean, a county with no hen houses will have no egg thieves, and probably less foxes in the area.

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On the internet, nobody knows that you are a dolphin.


We are on the 230th day of 2016. 200 violent crimes in 2016 = 200/230 = 0.87/day.


Some variation of this destroyed the economy of a small town I once lived in:
Step 1) Secure land grab w/ tax cuts promising “local jobs”
Step 2) Build infrastructure with 90% out of town temp workers
Step 3) Hire workers in local community at minimum wage and set max hours to 30/wk - force employees onto welfare so local taxes have to support a “living wage”
Step 4) Price items so low that existing local shops can’t compete, for anyone that can, specifically target it by artificially dropping prices (ex: take a loss on that merch because you can make it up across the empire)
Step 5) Once all “competitors” are out of business, raise prices again and slash workforce. City now has the ability to employ a fraction of the people it employed prior to Wally arriving in town.
Step 6) Pay less net total taxes to city than city was seeing before with local companies per “tax incentives” given to Wally to come to town to “make jobs”
Step 7) Force local municipalities LEO’s to provide security once townies become desperate enough to start stealing from the only store left in the area. Get town to foot the bill.
Step 8) Once town is a husk of it’s former self, abandon store and start again somewhere else, extracting profit and moving on - lather, rinse, repeat.

Nope.I can in no way see how/why people might think Wally shares some responsibility for the outcome of their actions. Funny how .com’s are the only “people” who get that privilege…


It is. Which is why I didn’t do that. I compared Walmart to heroin. It gives you what you need but exacts a terrible price for it later.


That’s my curiosity as well. Does Walmart breed crime or simply lend resilience to existent patterns?

The authors have both said that their intent is not to criticize Walmart and I feel that’s clear from the abstract. Still, if it is true that Walmart’s geographical strategy has a stabilizing effect on local crime, I’d hope that corporate would feel a sense of community responsibility to address that.

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Yes, it was sarcasm. @Snowlark and @jamesnsc have already covered most of the points, so I won’t belabor them. I will add that many communities have nuisance property ordinances, so yes, if you fail to provide adequate security and structure your stores in such a manner that theft is committed with ease, or more importantly draws criminal activity to the area, you are also culpable.

As for point number 3, you over extend my point which is a weak way to criticize it. No one has said Walmart is not entitled to call law enforcement. What I will say is that to expect the tax payers to pay out over $1200 to cover Walmart’s zero tolerance policy for theft, and let’s remember this was $0.98, is absolutely ridiculous and poor corporate citizenship which opens them up to deserved scathing criticism. Law enforcement officers regularly talk out situations like this and send both parties on their way without charges being pressed, as long as one side doesn’t have the economic clout as Walmart it would seem.

Occurrences like this are an extremely poor use of the justice system, wasteful, and deserving of the communities contempt.


WalMart has started implementing an internal ‘remedial justice’ strategy for petty theft. Instead of involving the PD, they give the suspect the option of enrolling in a remedial program. I’d provide links but I’m typing this on my mobile and we all know how much that is. Google it, though, it’s pretty fascinating.

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Yeah…can you imagine the discrimination lawsuits as Walmart denies access to stores? Mr. Mayor how exactly do you see Walmart determining who is is not entitled to enter their stores and is the City of Tulsa willing to indemnify them from any resulting lawsuits?

Please site the source of your narrative.

In the meantime let me help.

Step 1) Purchase land from local owners at a good price, sometimes with property tax incentives, as a way to bring entry jobs into the community and lower prices for all, especially those on fixed incomes.
Step 2) Build the store with a mix of national and local trades.
Step 3) Hire workers higher than the minimum wage (Staring at $10) and managed hours as needed to support the business. As for your hours to 30/wk - force employees onto welfare so local taxes have to support a "living wage”. Walmart hires a number of part-time workers who by law MUST work less than a full-time load and Walmart has been sued for allowing even close to more hours. No one should expect to make enough money at a $10 an hour part-time job to live. It’s a second source or non-working spouse role that for many can mean a huge difference in their homes.
Step 4) Price items competitively using the buying power and focus on driving down cost. The fact that existing local shops can’t compete isn’t my problem! I’m not paying anymore than I must to feed my family. Why should I work to pay more to some local grocery guy because they can’t scale or operate with Walmart’s efficiency. Am I their welfare program? Pay more here because you like me? You want to hand over your hard earned money…feel free!
Step 5) Never seen this statistic quoted and please cite your source.
Step 6) Never seen this statistic quoted and please cite your source.
Step 7) Why do you use words like “Force”. It’s the job of the police to protect and maintain order NOT Walmart. Do you really want to back too the late 1800’s when many businesses had their own uncheck police forces to maintain order? Really? That’s your answer?
Step 8) Yeah…cause that’s the way to grown and maintain a business! Kill off all the jobs and move on. Given the area of the US is finite it’s not a business plan I would recommend and it’s for sure NOT Walmart’s.

I suspect we’ll just have to agree to disagree!

Oh and critter…

Yes, and they also have a nice bunch of lawyers who are waiting for any excuse to sue Walmart for anything. Walmart’s policy is to not try to apprehend anyone once they leave the store. Why? Because the courts have found Walmart liable when something has gone wrong and there’s no longer any danger to employees or customers. Some take that as a goal to rob or steal and just get out the door and your home free! is this Walmart’s fault? How many millions does Walmart have to pay in these lawsuits for you to feel they’ve done enough. It’s NOT Walmart that draws criminal activity, it’s laws that protect us all applied to shoplifting. How about instead of focusing on Walmart we focus on the bigger issues? Even if Walmart did EVERYTHING THEY COULD POSSIBLY DO…the result? Crime would go elsewhere. Nothing is solved. But hey it’s easier to get on-line and slam Walmart than offer critical thinking and broader solution isn’t it? Carry on!

Yes, they started it here three years ago in eight of the stores. It’s not mandatory and it seems it’s not used effectively.

ETA: I’ve worked on diversionary programs for first time non violent offenders, from the school board level, city pd, county sheriff to the state legislature. In every instance if it has not been made mandatory it is rarely, and unequally, used.

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Yes, you are correct, but an article about that won’t gain as many clicks. Sorry but holier than thou anti-Walmart articles and comments are a pet peeve. There’s more perhaps that they could do but the issue is US and our cities and towns. Rather than take responsibility the police and the mayor are looking to shift blame. Meanwhile Tulsa sinks further into overall disarray. :frowning:

BTW: I have reached my silly three post limit so you can all feel free to slam me like you do Walmart. The real issue is in the mirror.

Take care!



Just to be clear, I did not intend to convey that I thought you said Walmart was not entitled to call law enforcement. When I said “…as a business must bear a certain level of criminality” I was speaking of what it seems you are speaking of. Basically, that criminality should rise to a certain level before you believe law enforcement should be called in to the situation.

I’m not sure what in your post was in response to in mine. Walmart doesn’t have to pay out millions in settlements, they could hire trained security personnel to reduce theft, but I’m guessing they find those settlements less expensive than all that payroll. And yes, there is something about Walmart that draws criminal activity as other business seem to operate without anywhere near the same problems.

I do find it interesting you seem to believe there is “x” amount of crime that will simply divert like a stream around a stone. Petty crimes are most often crimes of opportunity. Take away the opportunity and you reduce the crime rate.

And I do get out in the community and work on it! I’ve been working with anti-poverty organizations for 15 years now! Guess what? Criminal records over stupid shit like stealing notebook paper from Walmart (yep, arrested over school supplies, with a diversionary program in place but not utilized, Because Crime!) really feeds back in to unemployment and poverty, which leads to theft from Walmart!

Thank you, I will carry on because fighting corruption in the system will never end!


I interpreted:

differently than it seems you meant. Yes, the concept is called shrinkage. It occurs in every industry. It is wrong but it is there. It is also wrong that Walmart profits from a business model than shifts that cost to the general public at an exponential mark up.


If he’s working for WalMart, not much I would imagine

Are you nuts?!? How will the Walton spawn live on less money than the billions they have now?!


You may get labeled an apologist on this thread, but if that heat is OK with you, I encourage you to continue contributing. Unpopular but earnest, non-trolling opinions are welcome on BB. I realize it might not always seem that way but if regulars felt your opinions were trolling or offensive, you would’ve been flagged into oblivion. Instead, they engaged with you, and you with them. I take that as a good sign.

If you do express what turns out to be an unpopular opinion, expect scrutinizing pressure to substantiate them, far more so than if it were popular opinion. Unfair? Sure. Again, the heat is turned up pretty high on any views perceived as pro-corporate and anti-working class. Some newcomers take this as an opportunity to galvanize themselves against the regulars here. But I’d recommend hearing out some of those commenters. In the end, they really do want much the same thing that you do: a more just, verdant, and peaceful world, as the MacArthur Foundation puts it.

I won’t feign impartiality. I’m concerned with what I see as adverse consequences—societal and economical—of Walmart’s business model and practices. But I also understand (or at least hope) that Walmart’s footprint also positions them to play a major role in getting to that more just, verdant, and peaceful world. This redirection is a choice that only corporate can make and I can only hope that someday the right people will be in place to make it—not just for the good of the company, but the people they serve. And those people are not the shareholders.