New Jail? You’ll Need One When Wal-Mart Comes to Town

One of the cries of Brown County leadership concerns a new jail. The thought is that bringing Wal-Mart to town will generate enough tax monies for the county to build that jail.

Sadly, they’ll need a new jail should Wal-Mart take up county residence. Why? Because Wal-Mart stores boast a scary amount of crime:

  • The average Wal-Mart in Ohio reported 188.5 police incidents per year in 2004.
  • Police costs alone average $77.50 per incident, totaling an average of $14,608.75 per store in Ohio. (The average cost for moving those offenders through the county legal system, which has not been tracked, is certainly much higher.)
  • Worse, most police departments find they must add an extra officer just to handle the increased crime generated by the Wal-Mart. That cost? $80,600 for an additional officer, which includes salary, benefits, training, and equipment.

But any large retail store creates a temptation to crime, right? True, but not all retailers are created equal crime-wise. An independent study conducted in 2005 compared Wal-Mart stores with Target stores located near each other. The results are shocking:

  • The average Wal-Mart store generated nearly 5 times the crime of its neighbor Target store.
  • Customers and employees were 6 times as likely to be assaulted at Wal-Mart than Target.
  • Customers and employees had their vehicles stolen from Wal-Mart parking lots at 10 times the rate of the Target.

Clearly, Wal-Mart has a serious security issue.

The upshot?

The few bucks taxpayers save at Wal-Mart will be offset by higher taxes needed to handle the increased crime and subsequent criminal prosecution that haunts each store.Handcuffs

The neighborhoods Wal-Mart populates automatically become less safe. Worse, Wal-Mart sees far more crime per store than other large, retail stores.

Higher taxes and more crime—suddenly, that smiling Wal-Mart happy face seems out of place.

As for all those business taxes Wal-Mart will be giving Brown County to operate within its borders (money earmarked to build that ironic, new jail), just ask the State of Illinois what happened to $26.4 million in tax money Wal-Mart managed to avoid paying them.

But that’s fodder for another post…

For more, see the Wal-Mart crime study here.

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One thought on “New Jail? You’ll Need One When Wal-Mart Comes to Town

  1. It’s a sad day in America when prisons are a money-making venture. I wonder, though, just how many taxes Wal-Mart will actually pay. Municipalities often offer tax breaks to Wal-Mart as a way to attract their business. So not only does Wal-Mart (and other large box stores) skip out on the tax burden that small, local businesses must bear, but it also becomes an expense to the community through its part-time job policy (no health benefits) and the crime you describe here.

    As Lou Dobbs says, America was once sold off for beads and baubles–now it appears that’s going to happen again.

    I look forward to reading more of your posts!

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