Walmart Adds Police Substation to Deter Crime

( – As of July 2023, Walmart had closed 22 stores nationwide. Two of them were in the Atlanta area. The two Atlanta stores were damaged during a spree of arson incidents connected to shoplifting events. Thieves set fires in multiple retail stores as distractions.

Two months after the Vine City Walmart closed, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens contacted Walmart and discussed reopening the store. The Vine City store was needed, he said, to provide low-income families in the area with access to healthy food. An agreement was reached that Walmart would reopen the store as a neighborhood market (smaller than a supermarket) and would have a workplace designated for police officers inside the building.

Mayor Dickens believes a stronger police presence will deter crime inside the store and in the general area. The workstation will be an area specifically for police officers to charge their devices, do paperwork, etc. Walmart spokesperson Charles Crowson commended Atlanta officials for their efforts and collaboration in having the store reopen. Crowson also stated that the concept of having police workstations inside the stores has been tested before. Walmart has historically been supportive of police and hopes the workstation will also benefit the APD.

The Vine City store is set to open in May 2024 after being closed for more than a year. The store will have groceries and basic necessities, a pharmacy, and a police workstation.

Retail stores have suffered since the pandemic. Inventory losses due to theft combined with the increased rate of violent crime in progressive areas have caused many stores to close their doors. Eight of the closed Walmart stores were in Illinois. Four were in Chicago. According to Crowson, Walmart invested “hundreds of millions of dollars” in the city of Chicago, attempting to increase performance in stores that were losing “tens of millions of dollars” per year. The decision was made to close the stores after the investments proved unsuccessful.

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