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2003-09-06
West Sadsbury, PA. Wal-Mart Crime Blows Lid off Local Police Budget

Township officials in West Sadsbury, Pennsylvania did not see this coming. When the Wal-Mart store was built in their community, they were told it would be no big deal. "Early on," admits West Sadsbury Police Chief John Slauch, "the developers said (the shopping center) wouldn't have a great impact. That's not true." Unfortunately, what the police found out is that Wal-Mart is a magnet for criminals as well as shoppers. As the town's police contract comes up for renewal, town officials are going over the numbers to quantify the negative impact on crime the Wal-Mart store has had in their community. "I think we're up to our 200th. arrest," Don Markwood, the town's police supervisor, told the Parkesburg Post Ledger newspaper. The newspaper reported that the town has grown increasingly worried about the rising costs associated with police services specifically tied to Wal-Mart's operations. According to figures provided by Chief Slauch, in 2002, more than 10% of all police calls were to the shopping center where Wal-Mart is an anchor. Of those 10% of calls, 34% came specifically from Wal-Mart. In the first five months of 2003, 14.3% of all police calls were from the shopping center, and 40% of those were from Wal-Mart alone. "When you have one entity getting the calls," the Police Chief told the Ledger, "the taxpayers are paying. We're handling a lot of complaints and spending time to investigate. The amount of time being spent far outweights the revenue." According to the West Sadsbury cops, the arrest rate has tripled over the last year. The township reported that the shopping center pays only $8,000 in property taxes to the town. It gets no reimbursement for police work directly from Wal-Mart or the developer. The Police Chief complained that other towns in Bucks County get money from the developer to cover security costs, and he wants to approach the developer to help West Sadsbury defray the cost of processing Wal-Mart activity.

What you can do: This Newsflash database has many similar stories about big box crime. In most cases, towns were lulled by developers into believing that no added burden would be imposed on municipal services. For more sad stories like West Sadsbury, search this database by the word "crime".










 
 
"Norman has become the guru of the anti-Wal-Mart movement" ~ 60 Minutes

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