Porter Ranch, California, USA - September 15, 2011: Typical suburban Walmart big box store sign in afternoon light.

Labor Activists Air Ads Emphasizing Walmart’s Crime Issues

Walmart is facing backlash, as labor activists air ads in four cities that underline the retailer’s crime issues. Bloomberg’s piece, featuring Darrell Ross, an officer in Tulsa, found the police officer operates up to 10 hours a day out of the Walmart Supercenter.

Ross, operating from the security office, works out of the Walmart because crime levels leave a persistent trail of shoplifters for Ross to arrest.

The call log for the Supercenter documents 5,000 trips to the store in the past five years. Vans are sent to pick up the criminals Ross arrests because squad cars are too small to fit all arrestees.

Making Change at Walmart, a workers rights group, is pressuring the retailer, calling for improved security in the company’s stores. The Bloomberg findings in Tulsa documented just 300 calls over a five-year period at the local Target. The average crime level in Target is six times lower than Walmart.

The average Walmart has one violent crime per day.

Walmart is addressing the security issues in its stores. The company installed eye-level security monitors and is increasing store staff to deter shoplifters.

Advertisements are reaching viewers in Dallas and St. Paul. The group states that they’ve visited local governments and city officials to make the case of Walmart being a public nuisance. The group will distribute flyers to twenty additional cities to educate locals of the crime occurring at local Walmart stores.

Taxpayers front the expense for the lack of security at Walmart stores.

Bloomberg’s investigation documented 200 violent crimes occurring at the retailer’s 4,500 stores this year. Violent crimes include shootings, murders, stabbings and kidnappings. Criminal cases rise in cities with a Walmart.

The group’s press release states, “Walmart must stop asking local police departments to do their job, and taxpayers to subsidize its security,” said Randy Parraz, campaign director of MCAW. “This is not an issue of whether Walmart can do more, it is about why they are putting profits ahead of the community”

Walmart is responsible for the most police calls in North Texas and the Twin Cities, and accounts for 16,800 calls in four Florida counties in one year.

Law enforcement officials around the country are asking Walmart to act. Police officials state that the calls are draining their police department. Some officials suggest that Walmart refuses to do anything to remedy the crimes.

Cutbacks are a major proponent of the rise in crime levels. The company reduced employee counts to boost profits, and now has one worker per 524 square feet of space. Employees must cover a 19% larger space than their counterparts a decade prior.

If Walmart is deemed a public nuisance, a $2,500 fine per call to the police can be imposed.

Lawmakers in some cities have successfully caused Walmart to employ security officers after a long, slow battle with the company.