Walmart is one of the most popular retail store chains in the USA. It is a great place for people to shop for a variety of personal items, things for the home, and electronics.
What makes Walmart stores popular and attractive to such a large customer base sets them as a target for shoplifters. Walmart has tried to counter shoplifting by installing special one-way gates.
Here’s Why Walmart Has Gates Installed
Walmart loses billions each year from shoplifting. In an attempt at loss prevention, the company began installing one-way customer access gates. These gates were only installed in stores considered high theft stores and are meant to be a visual theft deterrent.
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Do Gates Help Walmart Keep Thieves Out?
The company put one-way gates installed in Walmart stores to prevent shoplifting.
At first, the idea seemed to work, with stores reporting a decline in theft where Walmart had first installed the gates. They were deemed to be a strong visual deterrent from theft.
However, as more data were obtained with passing the time, the results were outweighed by the inconvenience suffered by shoppers, many of whom found the new gates a turnoff.
What Do The Gates At Walmart Look Like?
Before introducing the customer access gates, shoppers coming to Walmart were first welcomed by designated Walmart greeters.
Then, they would walk through automatic sliding glass doors that would take them directly to the store floor. Now, the greeters are being phased out with the installation of customer access gates.
What do these gates look like?
Will All Walmart Stores Have Gates Installed?
The one-way gates seen in Walmart stores were meant to deter would-be shoplifters. However, they did not install these gates in all Walmart stores nationwide.
Only select Walmart outlets deemed high risk for theft had the gates installed. Even these high theft stores with one-way gates installed are being transformed again.
Now that Walmart has weighed the pros and cons, the gates are set to be removed. It appears the gates were being a significant turnoff to shoppers.
Although some stores reported a reduction in shoplifting with the new gates installed, the benefits could not outweigh the inconvenience being felt by customers.
In the end, not all Walmart stores had these gates installed, and those that had it are seeing a removal of them.
How Do The Security Scanners At Walmart Work?
Walmart goods are marked with wired radio frequency tags, Autopeg tags, and stick-on magnetic labels.
These tags are not on all items, however. They are only used on more expensive items such as televisions and video games. You won’t find them on candy bars, for instance.
The doors at Walmart stores are fitted with security sensors that alarm when they detect a live tag. A live tag has not been properly deactivated by store personnel using the appropriate, specialized tools at checkout.
How Much is Stolen at Walmart Per Year?
Walmart is said to lose around three billion dollars per year from shoplifting.
Compared to the retail giant’s annual returns of 559 billion dollars in 2021, its shoplifting bill amounts to 0.54 percent of its annual returns.
Does Walmart Have Other Security Measures Besides Gates?
Walmart stores have several measures and systems in place that attempt to prevent shoplifting. One line of prevention is the employment of Loss Prevention Associates.
These staff members at Walmart include managers, who are trained to spot, track and even catch shoplifters when they leave the store.
The training that loss prevention personnel receive teaches them not to act if they are unsure of the person’s intent. They are also trained to remain calm until the shoplifter leaves the store.
Walmart stores also use a strategy of restricting access to their stores. This approach works by publishing the identity of previous shoplifters over the age of 16 years and advising that they are no longer permitted to enter Walmart stores.
Walmart stores also utilize the help of police officers in cases of shoplifting. Some police departments make it a regular part of their duty to stay close to certain Walmart stores.
Some Walmart stores even go as far as designating special parking for police cars on their parking lots. All this is to facilitate quick response of the police to calls from Walmart stores about shoplifters.
Other technological methods used in Walmart stores to tackle the issue of shoplifting include:
- The use of surveillance cameras at the entrances to track potential shoplifters.
- The use of cameras and AI for picture recognition of shop products.
- Once an item is removed from a shelf, a scanner will track if it is placed in a bag before it gets checked out.
Is It Dangerous To Shop At Walmart?
Shopping at Walmart can be done in two ways.
One is by online shopping, and the other is by the physical, in-store experience. Online shopping at Walmart can be dangerous because of the possibility of identity theft.
Shopping in a physical Walmart store can be dangerous because of pickpockets known to snatch purses, credit cards, and even expensive personal items like a gold Apple iPhone Max Pro worth $1,000.
Even worse is the possibility of getting caught in robberies or shootings – especially in the United States.
How to Stay Safe When Shopping in a Walmart Store
Shop at times when the store is less likely to be crowded. That means you might need to avoid Black Friday and other holidays.
Also, have a list of what you want to get, and stick to it. That way, you end up spending less time in the store.
Furthermore, place a strict limit on how much cash you carry into your chosen Walmart store. This restriction is also a good idea for expensive items. You probably could leave your newest iPhone at home for this trip.
Finally, shop with a friend. Let this friend know you are not going out for a chat. (That could be distracting and defeat the purpose.) Instead, let your friend know you want extra eyes and wits to be more watchful when you shop.
Walmart has been around for decades offering low retail prices that are often hard to beat.
In these times of more insecurity, the retail giant has to find a way to balance its security measures with what is convenient for its customers.