Walmart crime

Avoid stupid people in stupid places doing stupid things. Millions of armed Americans copy that, and rightly so. There are some locations that clearly tick all the boxes, like a Texas roadhouse at 3am. But there are other places many people don’t associate with crime. Like Walmart. If that’s you, it’s time to change your view . . .

Bloomberg Business Week has just published an eye-opening comprehensive report on crimes committed on Walmart property in 2016. The numbers boggle the mind. Sam Walton’s stores can rack up 1,000 or more calls for police each year, each.

The story noted a number of changes that the Benton, Arkansas-based retailer has instituted that make their stores more inviting to criminals. Fewer employees work the sales floor. Many if not most stores no longer employ greeters. Barely monitored self-checkout scanners lead criminals to think that “no one at Walmart cared, no one was watching, and no one was likely to catch you.”

The parking lot

Eighty percent of Wally World crime happens immediately outside the store. Lots of crime: armed robberies, thefts (lots of thefts), murders, stabbings, shoot-outs, rapes, kidnappings, child abductions, drug deals, stolen cars and plenty more occur with alarming regularity.

It makes perfect sense. Bad guys have plenty of places to hide and most folks are distracted and/or have their hands full. Not to mention Walmart’s majority-female customer demographic. One offender told an investigator:

“I’d been breaking into cars and stuff since I was about twelve. You just go there (Walmart) and if you park, you can just watch people pull up. Like some people, they will put stuff in the trunk. And if you sit there and watch the people, you know which ones put stuff in their trunk or got stuff in their cars.”

Walmart’s parking lots have become the today’s watering hole for criminal predators. And a popular gathering place for ne’er-do-wells.

In 2015, a family from Idaho camped out in a Cottonwood, Arizona store parking lot “to make music.” After pushing a store employee in a restroom, store management called 9-1-1.  The night ended with lots of arrests, three shot and one killed.

The Walmart crime wave hasn’t gone unnoticed. In Indiana, a small town mayor threatened to declare the store a public nuisance after a video of a brawl went viral. Mayor Buckley’s threat had teeth: a $2,500 fine for every call to the police. It worked. Walmart now pays for off-duty police to work at the store.

Sadly, many cities still wrestle with an inadequate response from the massive retailer. “The constant calls from Walmart are just draining,” says Bill Ferguson, a police captain in Port Richey, Fla. “They recognize the problem and refuse to do anything about it.”

Don’t be a victim – at Walmart or anywhere else!

Bottom line: your safety at Walmart — or any other big box store — is your responsibility The simplest “solution” to Walmart’s well-documented danger? Don’t go there.

In some small towns, that’s not a practical solution. It’s also true that the same conditions that make Walmart parking lots a watering hole for criminals also applies to other big box stores and supermarkets.

For example, 1 shot in Home Depot parking lotMan charged with robbing woman at Best BuyMountain Brook PD: Woman robbed at gunpoint in Whole Foods parking lotPolice investigate strong-armed robbery in Safeway parking lotTarget Armed Robbery Suspects Captured etc.

So . . . up your situational awareness when visiting Walmart or any similar store. Pay particular attention when parking. Park in a well lit place, preferably using a space where your car’s not boxed-in on both sides.  Before you get out of your car (and after) look for anyone loitering or moving without a sense of purpose. If you don’t feel safe, don’t get out of the car.  Drive off and come back later.  Make sure your loved ones know the same.

Be extremely vigilant walking from to and from your car. If you don’t feel safe coming out of the store, ask a security guard to accompany you to your vehicle. Always use a shopping cart, even if you only have a couple of items. That cart can act as a barrier between you and a suspicious person.  Use it as an obstacle for anyone approaching as you buckle your kids into their car seats or load your car.   If someone suspicious approaches you, consider putting a car or cart between you and them.

And don’t forget your best personal safety rescue tool: your gun. (Provided, of course, it’s legal to carry inside the store.) Make sure you’re ready to draw your firearm efficiently, and drop/throw/push away your shopping to get to your gun. Again, your safety is your responsibility, no matter where you go. But at some places more than others.

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66 Responses to Big Box Parking Lots: Watering Holes For Criminal Predators!

  1. A grocery bag of canned goods makes a good weapon if you’re not pushing a shopping cart. I saw a guy I thought was eyeing me once and started swinging my grocery bags — he blinked and went elsewhere.

    Though my service dog is probably a better deterrent; if someone approaches me whom he doesn’t consider safe, he does a great imitation of a bloodthirsty carnivore,

    • I avoid walmart like the plague. so much so that when my credit card was compromised, a purchase at walmart tipped off the bank and the card was canceled. maybe I’m the only one, but everything about the place creeps me out including the parking lot at dusk.

        • When I want a can of green boiled peanuts, I want it NOW. Amazon ain’t cutting it.

          SA, folks. If there are 3 people leaving Wal Mart, and two of them are staring at their iPhones while the third (me) is observing the parking lot and the people in it…Well, I just saved a texter from a mugging because now there is a witness.

  2. I don’t know if it’s Bloomberg but reports about the draw Walmart has for criminals have been out for a long time, usually focused on how much it costs the company and society in various forms.

    Personally, I like to hit the Wally World parking lot a few hours after midnight for the evening Cee-Lo game. There’s something invigorating about winning an illegal dice game at 3am while drinking out of a bottle in a paper bag.

  3. I always park the cart before I leave a store. I also try to keep my gun hand unencumbered.

    But statistically, I realize it’s perhaps the riskiest place I frequent…

    • Interesting that you leave your gun hand empty. I am not criticizing- I just do the opposite. I hold my bag with my gun hand and leave my weak hand free to sweep aside my jacket/shirt/whatever and figure I will drop/throw what I am carrying if I need to draw. I always figured that was faster, but maybe I am doing it backwards.

        • Whether I carry shoulder or strong side I don’t worry to much about my hands, as long as whatever I have can be dropped easily, but I’ve trained drop and draw for years, with lots of different objects.

          I think lots of times people naturally develop habits that support their training, and by the same token, begin to train the areas they see a need.

      • I practice throwing the bag while drawing. If the bad guy is watching the bag – which an untrained person will naturally do – I get an extra 3/4 of a second or more.

  4. Situational awareness will also help out a lot with the maniac drivers around most large parking lots.

  5. Yep, its well known that the Walmart parking lot is dangerous, especially at night. So are the other big box stores. Not to mention, the mall. And gas stations. I don’t have to worry about being disarmed by “no guns” signs, because I refuse to shop at places that don’t respect my right to defend myself and my family. I’ve always got my head on a swivel and gun on my hip in parking lots because there’s just so incredibly many spots you can be ambushed from.

  6. How about consciously choosing to live in a town that has low crime? I statistically guarantee you that the Walmart’s (and other big box stores) in low crime towns are safer than in high crime towns. Be brave and just move away, as many people in Chicago and other dangerous places are now doing.

    • “How about consciously choosing to live in a town that has low crime?”

      Because it’s very expensive to live those nice towns. Are you personally willing to pay the poor to live in a nicer area?

      “Be brave and just move away, as many people in Chicago and other dangerous places are now doing.”

      Just HOW do you do that when you are poor? Brave has nothing to do with it.

      You have to be trolling, or you are an utterly clueless Progressive Obama voter…

      • All you have done is offer excuses as to why someone can’t move to a safer area. If you make excuses, you will never move forward in life and will be stuck in the same sh*tty neighborhood. As an old timer, I know that when you get mad and fed up with your life and surroundings, then you will make a change.

        I’ve got Somalian immigrants fresh off the boat living in my extremely safe town and working as cab drivers. Somehow they can do it but you can not?

      • Actually, it can be a lot LESS expensive to live in a small town than a big one. The small town we live in here in Southern Utah is a lot less expensive than some of the bigger towns in Utah and way less expensive than the small town we lived in when we lived in California. It’s also a lot safer.

    • I live in a smaller town and I consider it pretty safe, but criminals are going to go to “safer” places cause it’s typically safer for them too. In the last week a teenage girl was almost abducted walking to her car at the grocery store. Luckily she noticed some unsavory fellows and put her car in drive, locking it, and sped away. Situational awareness is THE key.

      • I live in a “nice” neighborhood right off the light rail line. My idiot, progressive, racist neighbors think that because it’s a white neighborhood they can leave their MacBooks and wallets in their cars. Hey, criminals go where the money is, dumfuks. A white homeless guy can bust your window just as easily as a black gang banger can.

    • You know criminals have access to vehicles and go to the “nice and safe” areas to commit crimes too. Because people are less suspecting. Also, just up and moving 3 towns or a state over is impossible for most people. And rather pointless when you get there and figure out the grass usually ISNT greener on the other side, and there’s always some bullshit to deal with no matter where you live.

      • Generally people in bad neighborhoods don’t have much to steal which is why criminals go elsewhere.

        Small towns have their own set of problems. The town I grew up in had a legit serial killer. The smaller town I live in now is starting to have meth related issues and dumbasses looking for oxy has been a problem for a few years.

      • Nah. Criminals don’t really think and act like that; at least not your common predator. They’ll commit crimes in their comfort zone.

        Which, in some sense, isn’t a bad idea. Nothing alerts a cop faster than a someone who stands out. It’s hard to pick a shitbag out from his neighborhood but if he starts driving around a nice neighborhood in his 15 year old car with a broken windshield and homemade tint job, he won’t get very far.

        • “Nah. Criminals don’t really think and act like that; at least not your common predator. They’ll commit crimes in their comfort zone.”

          With all due respect, this is not a universal truism.

          I can’t speak for all parts of the country but I spent a fair number of years living in really shitty neighborhoods and if you saw something like a home invasion you knew right away that drugs or decent amounts of illicitly procured cash/expensive items were involved, or in some select cases the idiots pulling the job got the wrong address. Other than that there was no reason to bust into a Section 8 house and wave a gun around. What are you gonna steal? Food stamps and a 30 rack of Beast Ice? Maybe some shitty Meijer/Walmart furniture? The song says “Give me the baby rings and the #1 Mom pendant” not “Give me some Walmart fishsticks and some low end hygiene products”.

          Whether or not a criminal chooses to move out of their “comfort zone” or not depends IME on the criminal enterprise that they’re engaged in. People who are engaged in significant property crime generally don’t do it in their own neighborhood for a number of reasons unless something just falls in their lap like an out-of-towner in the wrong area.

        • Actually, criminals generally don’t “Shit where they eat”, and although targets in the hood may be “easier”, they offer far less reward.

  7. All Safeway stores in my town have security due to the homeless situation. Walmart has security as well, but only at the doors. There is a Walmart superstore in the next town down the road–and more stolen cars are recovered there (and thieves arrested) than anywhere else in the area. (Why they all go to Walmart after stealing a car is a mystery.) Tells me all I need to know about going there.

    It took my wife a long time to figure this all out. We were at one of the Safeways and she was renting a movie from one of those kiosks outside the store. It was, in my estimation, very poorly located, since there was a very large pillar (say 3′ by 3′) blocking sight lines between the kiosk and the parking lot. To make matters worse, someone using one of these kiosks has his or her attention completely focused on the screen in front of them, and their back to the parking lot. She didn’t understand why I was so paranoid–until she noticed all of the homeless people that congregate nearby. Now when we go there, she stays in the car with the windows up and the doors locked.

  8. ” Sam Walton’s stores can rack up 1,000 or more calls for police each year, each.”

    At the semi-rural Wal-Mart near me, the sheriff’s dept. keeps a cruiser parked outside most every night.

    That video of the Cottonwood, Arizona brawl was… Interesting. There was no backup for those cops?

    • At 3:20 one of the cops kicks the cop on the ground in the temple hard! Other than that they did what they could with no back up. That video was crazy, talk about brain dead people.

      • From the very start of the video, all I could think was “what part of ‘get on the ground’ are you failing to understand!?” This is what happens when people choose to live outside the mainstream. Their OODA loop becomes based on flawed assumptions – those that are relevant to their micro-group but not to society at large. Comply with the instructions of Law Enforcement and everyone leaves the parking lot alive and without being maced, tazed or shot. Sadly these people chose to physically confront the police to a disasterous effect.

        …and I have no idea what that cop was kicking at but that was pretty stupid.

  9. Shouldn’t that make arresting criminals easier? Just position a paddy wagon behind the store and a bunch of plainclothes guys. Everyone makes their monthly arrest quota in one afternoon. Or is it more complicated than that?

    • The citizens who live around there and pay taxes probably would like cops to be focused on something other than Wal Mart.

      • What I meant was not WalMart per se but rather posting plainclothes where ever most criminals are known to congregate. Which seems to be walmart parking lots today and maybe libraries next year. That’s all.

        • Libraries NEXT year? HA! Denver has ceded the Central Library Building, a block from the State Capitol, to the homeless. The meth and smack dealers followed quickly, and there have been at least 2 full on, penis/vagina penetrative rapes behind the building.
          Oh. Denver outlaws open carry, and the library prohibited concealed carry until they got sued.

      • Not defending walmart by any means I hate the place, but our local store pays $240,000 in real estate taxes per year.

  10. Years ago , thugs were staking out my local Apple store at the mall. Turns out store employees were calling them, tipping them off as to who was leaving with high value goods.

  11. sign or not, I am always carrying when I go shopping. I will tell you, it is strange to carry a loaded and chambered pistol on my hip, go into Big R, purchase a new firearm, and even though EVERY EMPLOYEE there knows me, and knows I carry everywhere, they still have to escort my new toys to the door before I can take possession, even the manager said he felt stupid having to do it on average once a month for me.

  12. Well I hate to go to wallyworld. NEVER after dark. Always parked for a quick getaway. I’ve tried to drum that into the wife with some success. At least Walmart isn’t a GFZ. My “don’t go there” thing extends to bars,horrible Chicago and suburban hoods and azzwhole stores with no guns signs…

  13. I’m not saying this article is wrong, it’s on point. But I automatically question ANY info from any source with the word “Bloomberg” in the title.

    • Case in point:

      “. . . the Benton, Arkansas-based retailer . . .”

      Nope. It’s Bentonville, not Benton. Two separate towns, about 230 driving distance miles apart.

    • Ya, not just ‘fake news’ it’s “out-to-get-you news”.

      It could be considered ‘worthless’ except its deleterious nature does not allow it to rise to meet the minimums of the definition.

    • Bloomberg Business is actually a very well written and researched publication, more trustworthy than the NYTimes, LA Times, CNN, BBC.

  14. I go to a nearby War-Mart in a somewhat rural area pretty much weekly with my wife. WE live way far out of civilization, one might say, and we tend to stock up when we do go to “town,” such as it is. That said, I can’t say I’ve ever seen anything like in these videos at Walmart in the past 30-odd years going to War-Mart (though my wife did accidentally run into Johnny Cash with a shopping cart one time). Goes without saying that probably 30% of the people there at any given time in my area are packing, or have some sort of gun in their vehicle, and that’s a conservative estimate. Armed society and all that.
    And, my God, that Cottonwood video was the biggest clusterf**k I’ve ever seen. I know zero details, but what in the hell? They couldn’t subdue these bumblef**ks? Just wailing away and couldn’t bring this thing to order. Certainly looked inept, at least on the surface.

  15. Just buy your crap on amazon. I used to go to wally world for ammo. Then i found out magical internet fairies would bring it to my house for cheaper…

  16. I treat walmart transitional spaces like an IDPA match. “shooter ready… stand by”. I untuck in the parking lot.

  17. Going to the Walmart in my city is like going to a 4th World Nation.
    Trash and garbage everywhere, not to mention lots of litter on the ground.

  18. I agree that you have to be vigilant and armed at Walmart, as well as many other places. But let’s do some math.

    The Bloomberg article says: “More than 200 violent crimes, including attempted kidnappings and multiple stabbings, shootings, and murders, have occurred at the nation’s 4,500 Walmarts this year…”

    I don’t know the total land area of all the Walmarts, but I do know their smallest stores are 30000sqft. Making the VERY conservative assumption that ALL the stores are that dinky, that’s 4500*30000sqft, which is 4.2sqmi, and that’s not even including the size of the parking lots!

    Now find me ANY USA big-city neighborhood in which ANY 4.2 square mile area has ONLY 200 violent crimes a year. You’re probably safer at a Walmart than in your own neighborhood.

    Any store that wants to reduce violent crime, it’s dead easy: stop selling booze, lottery and blunts, and stop taking EBT.

  19. Maybe we just need to carry our ARs in low-ready condition while visiting such places.

    In some locations, you might not even be noticed.🤠

  20. All crime is based on response time.

    WalMart is not the problem, it’s all the visiting idiots that are why we can’t have nice things.

    “WE HAVE MET THE ENEMY, AND IT IS YOU Fv<KERS ! ! !” — WalMart

    Blaming WalMart is like blaming a rape victim for what they were wearing.

    It's like fire-hydrants. No water pressure to fight a fire? Is someone using one of them for a kiddy-sprinkler?

    Taken to a logical (albeit enth-degree) conclusion – WHAT FOLLY YOU AHOLES ARE PARTAKING IN TO HAVE WINDOWS ON YOUR HOME (that aren't 60' up) IF YOU'RE GOING TO LEAVE YOURSELF HANGING OUT IN THE WIND LIKE THAT, OF COURSE YOU'RE GOING TO GET MUGGED / RAPED AND KILLED. AND OMG, HOW STUPIDLY NAIVE YOU ARE TO HAVE PATHETICALLY FLIMSY WINDOWS ON YOUR CAR, DON'T YOU KNOW SOMEONE COULD JUST SMASH THEM WITH A BRICK WHEN YOU ARE STOPPED AT A STOP LIGHT? ? ?

  21. And this is where the Illinois General Assembly wants Illinois residents to buy firearms. I can’t ever recall this sort of behavior at a gun shop, but… it’s for the Children!

  22. Walmart stores are zoo’s that cater to people that are
    stranger and crazier than me.

    I always keep my head on a 720 degree! swivel
    especially in the parking lots.

  23. Why all the hate on Walmart?
    My Walmart Supercenter is open 24/7 and sells ammo by the box for the same price as buying by the case on the net
    I use gunbot to check that I am getting the ” good deal” price

    I carry my gun with me into the store like I do everywhere else
    The main problem is finding someone to unlock the display case!

    • Reasons to hate Wal*Mart:
      1. They are predatory. Instead of building across town from their competitors, they build across the street from KMart or whatever other retailer they want to put out of business. It usually works.
      2. They displace mom & pop grocery stores, hardware stores, etc. Remember those places that had knowledgeable employees and quality products? Gone. Remember those local merchants who were pillars of the community? Gone.
      3. They beat up on their suppliers in a never ending quest for lower quality and lower price.
      4. They stack tons of fertilizer and pesticides in their parking lots where the bags break and chemicals wash into the storm drains. They don’t care about the environment, to the point they poison their own neighborhoods.
      5. They fill their stores with employees who make minimum wage and are worth every penny.
      6. They treat those employees like crap. Because they can. Unskilled labor is the easiest kind to find.
      7. As mentioned above, they pay a lot of property taxes and generate a lot of sales taxes. But it’s not new money. It’s just replacing lost tax revenue from the downtown retailers that are now boarded up. Zero sum game.

      Lookup the legal definition of “attractive nuisance.” I think Wally World is a prime example. They attract crime.

      • 1.) So what. Compete!
        2.)See 1.
        3.) So go somewhere else and pay more to take care of those poor suppliers (in China, usually).
        4.)Hahahahahaha
        5.) So you’re saying they should pay more? Or they’re paying correctly?
        6.) The employees at my area Walmart are happy, cheerful and appreciate the gig.
        7.) Wrong. And beyond that, did those they allegedly “replaced” pay millions of dollars for causes in their respective communities—like Walmart does?
        Of course I’m not on “team Walmart,” I could care less about them, though I do like to shop there on occasion (along with Ace Hardware, the Co-Op, Tractor Supply, Amazon, and countless independents). I go where best serves my interests and needs. But these points you make are just plain invalid and anti-capitalism. I don’t “hate” or “love” any business, I just make decisions based on where I want to spend my money and where I don’t.

  24. Regarding the advice to use a cart even if you have easily carried purchases, I’ll play Captain Obvious and say, “If you are properly polite and return your cart to its corral instead of pushing it halfway onto the median, lock your car before you walk away from it.”

  25. that poor kid… I truly feel awful for him. 100% not his fault that his mom is an awful person and he’s probably destined to a lifetime of failure/run ins with the law. What a waste.

  26. This has nothing to do with Walmart. Any place where a large number of people gather who might have cash or valuables is going to attract bad guys.

  27. This is an article directing frequented to no frequent UNSAFELY. MAKE THE COMMENTS ABOUT THAT.

    I don’t disagree that Wal-Mart could be unsafe. I think the idea, Go at a different time is wonderful. But, the person who talks about cravings could consider buy now, crave later, crave is not a primary NEED. Life IS.
    Regardless, the point is, this it’s an issue at any Parking lot. Even many parking lots that are far away form any building, tends to have criminal elements because off no lighting, no watchmen, no witness. No aid to the victim. Don’t bash the company. Bash & prevent, quit bitching, fix the issues.

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