Yes, you’re reading that headline correctly. I’m as surprised typing this as you are reading this. But, it’s true. Walmart is what I would consider the leader in the security game. Plain and simple, instead of having shoplifters arrested and thrown in jail, they are allowing shoplifting offenders to pay a fine in order to join a class, which teaches them about the consequences of shoplifting. That means, for the first time in a while, I’ve got absolutely no complaint with this idea. Now, stay with me here. Why is this such a novel concept? A couple reasons…or more!
First, for those whom have actually taken part in this “Walmart shoplifting class”, has allowed for a 35% reduction in shoplifting calls to law enforcement nationwide! I don’t care who you are, if you reduce crime by 35%, you’re doing something right. Remember, Walmart is a pretty easy target when it comes to shoplifting because of their widespread hours. Sometimes they’re the only place in town open. When you’re talking about being open in the middle of the night and perhaps having a lighter staff in the middle of the night, you are a pretty easy target. Another reason this prevention program has been so successful is because it’s keeping misdemeanor criminals out of already overcrowded jails. Let’s face it, unlike other countries, the American jail system is about punishment rather than rehabilitation. Ultimately, that’s not good. Ultimately, many people that spend time in jail in America actually return. As tax payers, you don’t want people in jail unless they need to be there. Having people in jail costs tax dollars, which means it costs you money. Another reason not to just throw people in jail is because the American jail system “hardens” criminals rather than actually teaching them how to improve their lives. The final reason you don’t want people in jail is because it sometimes shortens the sentences of serious criminals. Whom would you rather have on the streets, a murderer or a shoplifter? That’s an easy one if you ask me!
But the coolest thing out of all of this is that Walmart is showing true initiative. They’re trying something different than everyone else and while trying something different doesn’t always work in business, it’s trying something different that allows for different perception and for change. With their shoplifting prevention classes, which based on a basic search on Google seems to cost roughly $80, Walmart is helping improve the lives of people while helping keeping our costs lower by keeping their prices lower. This is ultimately a win-win! I’d like to see more companies take this kind of true initiative.