You would think that this week’s abduction and murder of a 19 year old Wal-Mart clerk from a Tyler, Texas store would stimulate the company and the media to ask how often does this happen, and what is being done to beef up security in dangerous parking lot areas? As I have documented now in two books, Wal-Mart has a serious crime problem — the worst of it in its parking lot. We are not referring here to petty theft, larceny or car theft — but murder, rape and kidnapping. Not only are customers at risk of predators, but Wal-Mart’s own workers too. The clerk who was abducted from the Tyler Wal-Mart was found shortly afterwards shot to death, according to Tyler police. The clerk died of gunshot wounds, allegedly inflicted by a man now in custody in Arizona. All Wal-Marts these days have surveillance cameras mounted on their roofline, and the Tyler abduction showed on videotape the Wal-Mart worker getting into her truck, then being hit or pushed, and abducted in her own vehicle. The tape also shows that a young man around 25 years old, wearing a long, dark coat, was loitering around the front of the store “for a good period of time,” according to police. The same man is seen on tape walking around inside Wal-Mart, and coming out of the store’s bathroom. Police believe the perpetrator was a “total stranger”. Videotape, however, could not prevent this crime, or the thousands more like it that will happen every year, always, at Wal-Mart. The employee in this case was leaving the store shortly before midnight.
This tragic loss of a young person’s life is just a reminder of what Sprawl-Busters has said for years: big box retail stores can be dangerous places to be. The convenience of large stores attracts more than just shoppers, it attracts criminals as well. Most stores provide easy on-and-off access to major highways, lots of confusing activity and bustle, and minimal security. Over the years, Wal-Mart has attempted to respond to such incidents with escort services, cart patrols in the parking lots, beefed up security forces, etc. It is not known if any such precautions were in place at the Tyler, Texas store, but nothing apparently could help the victim in this case. For more stories about crime, and the incidence of crime at Wal-Mart, search this database by “crime”, or call 1-877 DUNK WAL and get the book “The Case Against Wal-Mart.” This Tyler case will be in the national headlines for a day or two, and then retreat back into the archives of possibly preventable crimes. An escort service for customers and staff might have prevented this young woman’s death. But an escort service costs money, and solutions that cost money force up low, everyday prices.