Walmart Shoplifters Beware
You know that there is a real problem when a company the size of Walmart closes all its locations in a city the size of Portland, which is a city with nearly 650,000 residents. Portland had at least six Supercenters, one regular Walmart, and several Neighborhood Markets. We are talking millions of dollars in lost revenue, all because of one thing. That one thing is vandalism and shoplifting. Not only does pulling stores out of a region hurt the local communities who shop there, but it also hurts as there is no longer any tax money being generated from these stores and nearly 600 people will be heading to the unemployment office.
Officially Walmart stated “There is no single cause for why a store closes,” but claims that they are closing the stores in North and Southeast Portland for not meeting financial expectations. Walmart CEO Doug McMillon also stated to CNBC in December that shoplifting might force price increases or store closures. In that same interview, McMillon stated “Theft is an issue. It’s higher than what it has historically been,” and “I think local law enforcement being staffed and being a good partner is part of that equation. … If that’s not corrected over time, prices will be higher, and/or stores will close.”
Though Walmart hasn’t communicated with the Mayor’s office, many other major retailers in the city have asked the city to address shoplifting.
Shoplifting is out of control with many localities having laws that do not allow the retailer to detain shoplifters. Nationally the National Retail Foundation states that in 2021, there were $94.5 billion in losses nationwide.
In November, a clothing shop called Rains PDX permanently shut down amid a string of break-ins that “left the store financially gutted,” reports Fox Business. The store owner posted a note on the doors slamming the city for the crime rates that led to the closing of the business.
“Our city is in peril,” read the note. “Small businesses (and large) cannot sustain doing business, in our city’s current state.
“We have no protection, or recourse, against the criminal behavior that goes unpunished. Do not be fooled into thinking that insurance companies cover losses. We have sustained 15 break-ins … we have not received any financial reimbursement since the 3rd.”
The current climate in Portland is to not book people accused of low-level crimes like shoplifting into jail. It really depends on the locality and the District Attorney for that area. The counties surrounding Portland (Multnomah County), Washington, and Clackamas county both allow police to book someone charged with a low-level theft offense like shoplifting. But in Multnomah County, and across the river in Clark County, those two jails do not book shoplifters except under special circumstances.
When a locality doesn’t prosecute shoplifting, then the local stores can count on being robbed blind and there isn’t anything that they can do about it. They have no recourse, but to close, end of story.