CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. -- Local, county and state police agencies in Western New York spent an estimated $400,044 over a one-year period responding to the 6 Walmart stores in Erie County, according to data obtained and analyzed by 2 On Your Side.
Between May 24, 2015 and May 24, 2016, police departments reported the following numbers of complaints filed at the respective Walmart stores:
- Cheektowaga - 786 calls
- Hamburg - 600 calls
- Amherst - 461 calls
- Lancaster/Depew - 283 calls
- Clarence - 265 calls
- Springville - 233 calls
Using a national standard, those 2,703 calls, which average 7.4 per day, add up to 10,812 man hours for local authorities. Do the math, and that's a cost to taxpayers of $400,044.
In Cheektowaga, records show Walmart had more police activity than any individual location. Second was JC Penney at the Walden Galleria, followed by the Tops Market at 700 Thruway Plaza Drive.
Walmart released the following statement to 2 On Your Side:
“No retailer is immune to the challenge of crime. We recognize the importance of this issue at the highest levels of the company, and we are investing in people and technology to support our stores. We’re encouraged by a 35% reduction in calls to law enforcement agencies nationwide, on average, since we began implementing Restorative Justice and other crime deterrence programs. We’ll continue our outreach to law enforcement across the country as part of our ongoing commitment to meet our customers’ and associates’ expectations of a safe and enjoyable shopping experience.”
A Walmart spokesperson added that it's investing more money in the "More at the Door" program, which places workers at the entrances to some stores. The Western New York locations are included.
The company has also increased training for Asset Protection employees
Thursday at 5:30pm, 2 On Your Side looks into the phenomenon of "organized retail theft", which costs the economy many billions of dollars a year. We'll show you how one Western New Yorker has stolen so many times, he's been sent to the Erie County Holding Center more than 100 times.