Walmart: Now More Dangerous Than Ever?

When it comes to personal defense, situational awareness saves lives. Avoid stupid places, stupid people and stupid activities and you’ll avoid stupid prizes the great majority of the time.


In that vein, we have covered how big box store parking lots act as magnets for crime. Walmart stores in particular face pressure from local police agencies to reduce the staggering number of police calls to their stores. At the same time, they face internal pressures to limit merchandise theft.

Do you need another reason to carry? Here’s one:

In Peoria, Illinois, fresh signage suggests a new Walmart policy to “apprehend” shoplifters instead of prosecuting them. This may help reduce the number of calls to police. At the same time, the new policy may also serve to make the stores more inviting to thieves. And it goes without saying that most law-abiding folks don’t like the crime that follows criminals.

Sam Walton’s chain originally took a hard-nosed approach to shoplifters. The stores advertised that fact prominently in dressing room areas and restrooms. Signs like this one dotted stores across the nation.

As the stores grew in size and number, so too did calls to police. Walmart found itself facing ever-increasing pressure from municipalities complaining of the number of service calls to the stores.

In 2006, the company reportedly rolled out a new policy for petty thieves. First time shoplifters, ages 18-65, would not be prosecuted for stealing less than $25 worth of merchandise. And the calls to police continued to grow.

With shoplifting eclipsing employee thefts, Wally World seems to have gone soft on shrinkage. In fact, these new signs replacing old ones suggest a full-on retreat.

Store management had no comment about the new signage. What’s more, they didn’t wish to comment on Walmart’s story policy for dealing with shoplifters, on or off the record.

But the new verbiage says it all. Walmart now “apprehends” shoplifters instead of prosecuting them. How does that policy work in the wider world? “Catch and release” only made America’s streets more dangerous for the law-abiding in the 1960s and 70s. From

From 1960-1980, per capita imprisonment for violent crimes fell from 738 to 227. In the same period, violent crime rates nationwide tripled.
Why does crime rise when criminals are released from prison early? Because they are likely to commit more crimes. 67.5% were re-arrested for new felonies or serious misdemeanors within three years.  Extrapolating, those released felons killed another 2,282 people.

Time will tell if Walmart’s new “apprehend and release” policy on shoplifters will make their stores more dangerous for the law-abiding as well.

The good news is that Walmart hasn’t retreated from its policy of allowing good guys to carry guns in any manner permitted by law.