A Walmart in Atlanta that was shuttered after it was set on fire by suspected arsonists is installing a police
“workspace” inside the store — the latest dire measure aimed at curtailing the shoplifting epidemic that has hit big box chains, groceries, pharmacies, and other retailers.
The Walmart grocery store and pharmacy in Vine City, a low-income neighborhood on Atlanta’s west side, will feature a work area for cops when it reopens in May, the retailer said.
Police officers will be able to fill out paperwork and hold meetings in the space in addition to charging their phones and body cameras.
“You’re thinking about going into this Walmart to do some shoplifting or a robbery or whatever — you see the APD logo and you say, ‘Ah, not today’,” Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens told RoughDraft Atlanta, a local newspaper.
“After talking with the Merchants Association on MLK and Clark University and other people in the neighborhood, folks were saying they want to see more police presence,” Dickens added.
The mayor said that the goal of the “workspace” is to keep shoppers and retail workers safe while also making sure Walmart minimizes “shrink” — or loss of inventory from theft or damage — so that the company doesn’t decide “they don’t want to stay here anymore.”
Last December, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon warned that the company may be forced to shutter locations in areas where governments are taking a soft-on-crime approach.
In 2022, big box chains, grocery stores, and pharmacies lost an estimated $94.5 billion year due to shrink, according to The National Retail Foundation.
Large retail chains such as Target, Nordstrom, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Foot Locker, and Macy’s have reported a drop in sales — a significant portion of which could be attributed to shrink.