Walmart crime keeps police occupied

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AUGUSTA, Kan. (KAKE) -

It's a problem at Walmarts across the country - everything from petty crime to violent crimes including murder. Police will work hundreds of thousands of cases at the popular discount chain this year alone.

The retailer is popular with people from all walks of life for their low prices. But it's also popular with criminals.

"Our call increase was probably twofold in the last two years," Tyler Brewer, Director of Augusta Public Safety, said Wednesday.

Brewer said police get called to Walmart on a regular basis, and the numbers are increasing. The calls range from shoplifting, fraud and disturbances. Those calls can tie up police resources.

"It is a cost benefit for us, because they generate a lot of job opportunities for residents. It generates a lot of sales tax revenue that help underwrite our efforts in the city," Brewer. noted.

But he thinks Walmart's success is part of it's problem. "I think they are a target. Just by the nature of their size and by the nature of the goods that they sell, they are going to be a magnet."

Shoplifting is a problem for Walmart. KAKE News asked the chain about what it is doing to curb crime in its aisles

"You may start to see eye-level cameras where you can actually see yourself on-screen. So we do have a very visible presence there, so you are aware you are being filmed.... We are finding new ways to invest in technology," said Betsy Harden of Walmart Corporate Communications.

Brewer said Augusta police will protect and serve any business that sets up shop, "My favorite retailer is Baskin-Robbins, I would make sure no crime occurred there."

Wichita police commended Walmart for their efforts to hire off-duty officers to work at their stores.