The world's largest retailer pads its bottom line by relying on police to provide basic security at considerable cost to local taxpayers. That is the only reasonable conclusion from the Tampa Bay Times' detailed review of thousands of police calls to local Walmarts. There has to be a smarter way to fulfill government's obligation to protect everyone and enforce the law, and it should start with local governments insisting Walmart work as a better corporate partner to reduce its drain on public resources.We'll get a better class of Walmarts when we get a better class of shoppers there.
A review of nearly 16,800 calls in a single year to Walmarts in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando counties revealed some startling trends. Times staff writers Zachary T. Sampson, Laura C. Morel and Eli Murray found sheriff's deputies in Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando counties were called to Walmart stores more often than anyplace else. In Pinellas County, Walmarts ranked second. In Hillsborough, seven of the 10 busiest locations for the Sheriff's Office were Walmarts. These are numbers that cannot be explained away by the number of Walmarts or their store sizes or locations.
The details of the investigation are just as disturbing. Some 7,000 calls were for suspected thefts, and many of those involved inexpensive items such as a $10 gas can or a $6.39 electric toothbrush or $3 eye drops. There has to be a more time-saving, cost-efficient way of dealing with petty theft cases involving items worth less than $300. Another 9,000 police calls were for basic disorder such as trespassing or minor disturbances. How many of these situations could have been more efficiently handled by diffusing situations using store managers or private security than by calling police and arresting someone?
WALMART'S SYMBIOTIC RELATIONSHIP WITH THE WELFARE STATE.
It goes beyond selling cheap crap to the EBT crowd and behaving monopsonistically toward vendors and hiving off employee benefits on the taxpayers with personnel policies that swell the EBT and Medicaid rosters. The Walmart clientele are notoriously nyekulturny, and now the editors at Tampa Bay's Times note that all the police calls to the local Walmart are yet another instance of corporate welfare.