Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Media blackout of environmental disasters and protests continue

The commercial media continues to report on environmental disasters one at a time before quickly forgetting them without making any attempt to report on how many of them are happening. One of the latest is an Oil spill that closed part of Mississippi River in Louisiana. This was reported this weekend but only briefly and there are many others including disasters that happened in Kentucky, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Mississippi and presumably many more if I look for them. When these are reported on the national level they are not reported extensively and there is little or no follow up; in most cases they're only reported at local levels.

In the past when I try to find out how many are happening by Googling them it doesn't take long to find many that I would never have known about if I didn't search for them and the vast majority of the public is almost certainly still unaware of how many they are and how much of the global environment is being damaged or destroyed. Some of these efforts to find out how extensive they have been, and how many protests have been going on, some of which have been successful, were reported in North Dakota explosion forgotten already now Walpole, Omaha, Mississippi, and many others also quickly fading into memory hole, Indigenous Protesters in Brazil, Burma, Nigeria and other poor countries lead the way protecting the environment, and BP is just the tip of the iceberg. It is usually much more reliable to find out about these types of news stories from alternative news outlets like Earth First! Journal and Common Dreams.

The same goes for an enormous amount of protests which aren't being covered much if at all in the commercial media. Earlier this month there were a lot of protest organized in only a couple of days after the State Department released a report and I wouldn't have known anything about it if I had relied solely on the commercial media.

In 2011 the Occupy Wall Street protests were so large that the commercial media felt they had to provide some coverage of it even though they didn't provide good coverage. There are still an enormous volume of these protests but they no longer feel obligated to provide even a token amount of coverage, except, perhaps, low profile stories at the local level where some of the biggest protests take place.

I guess they might think that some people would be more suspicious if tehy didn't provide a token amount of coverage; but if you see one report about a local protest in your local news there are almost certainly dozens more that you aren't hearing about.

One individual has been quoted as saying "I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like last night." However other stories have been reported including some by Bill McKibben about how they have done this before and gained a lot of attention, at least at the grass roots level even if the commercial media refuses to report the news.

This might seem like they're wasting their time but I suspect that the percentage of the public that doesn't recognize how unreliable the commercial media is slowly but steadily declining and more people are checking alternative outlets. The progress may be slow thanks, in part, to the refusal of the commercial media to report on many of these incidents properly but there are a growing number of successes, mostly at the grass roots level and if more people recognize that they need to get their information from alternative sources then that could grow dramatically. This could be even more effective if more people are elected from real grass roots levels at least at the local level and that is already happening as well, although the commercial media isn't reporting it.

One of the protest that isn't being reported by the commercial media that successfully shut down an Australian coal mine, at least temporarily, Batgirl Shuts Down Boggabri Coal Mine. This may seem a little sensational and I wouldn't recommend relying on it too much if people get the sensation mixed up with the real story, but it is the type of thing that the commercial media would normally like. This may be in Australia but I doubt if they would cover it much even if it was in the US, except perhaps at the local level.

What is more surprising is that the anti-fracking movement has a new ally, at least when it comes to one project, Rex Tillerson, CEO of ExxonMobil.

I did not make this up.

Apparently when it comes to fracking in his own back yard he is opposed to it although when it comes to fracking tar sands or any other kind of profitable energy projects in the back yards of those without political power he supports it.

This has even been reported in the print media and on line by traditional outlets starting with the Wall Street Journal, Exxon CEO joins lawsuit citing fracking concerns; although I haven't found any reporting of this on the TV networks even searching for articles of it online, which often accompany their news stories.

However they continue to play those propaganda ads that the energy companies are buying up all the time. those will almost certainly be repeated over and over again long after many people forget about this story assuming they hear about it at all.

Of course it is the alternative media that is running with this much more than even the few print and on line articles about it from the traditional press with articles that include, Exxon CEO Comes Out Against Fracking Project Because It Will Affect His Property Values and Texas Size Hypocrisy: ExxonMobil CEO Opposes Fracking-Related Water Tower Near His Home.

Clearly they think they should be able to profit as much as they want to all over the world except when it comes to their own back yard. Perhaps, if someone poisons their drinking water or air they should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law but but if they poison the water of millions of people they should be able to buy up studies confusing the issues and drag it out indefinitely assuming they have to address it at all.

Another amazing thing that they often seem to do is try to portray those that want to prevent environmental destruction as "terrorists" while ignoring the violence that takes place on behalf of the oil companies.

There may be some examples where their are disputes among the environmentalists including some that include some property destruction or on rare occasions violence; but they are trivial compared to the enormous amount of damage that is being done by corporations with the help of state sanctioned troops; and at least they're the ones that are trying to prevent the enormous amount of pollution. Wars fought over oil make minor incidents that they refer to as "terrorism" seem trivial when a closer look is taken. Especially with some of the protest groups like which makes a point to renounce violence and do all their protest peacefully.

Yet that doesn't stop some people from trying to portray them as "terrorists" if they think they can get away with it.

Our government spends an enormous amount of money preventing these protests from getting their views across but instead of spending money to prevent the pollution they spend money to subsidize the corporations that are doing it.

If these corporations also happen to donate an enormous amount of money that they get from their customers to campaigns, presumably that is just coincidence.

Or not!

Here are just a handful of the news stories that aren't being reported as widely as they could be or in as organized a fashion.

Really these are only a handful if you compare them to a much larger number of stories that I didn't take the time to find.

Chevron’s Lobbyist Now Runs the Congressional Science Committee

California's Water Woes Deepen: 'A Bellwether of Things to Come'

Study Confirms Tar Sands Contamination First Nations Warned of for Years

Fossil Fuel Co. CEO: Fracking Now, Fracking Tomorrow...

'Unjust' mining laws slammed by former judges

A Toxic Culture of Violence and Shame: How DGR’s Denial of Transphobia Exposes Worse Tendencies

Cleanup Continues After Mississippi Train Derailment

Canadian Smelter Spills 25,000 Liters of Chemical Solution into the Columbia River

Brazil: Munduruku People Kick Miners Off Indigenous Territory, Seize Equipment

Duke Energy Waited 24 Hours to Report Major Coal Ash Spill into Dan River

Duke Energy Spills 82,000 Tons of Coal Ash into Dan River

How America Helped Build Africa’s E-Wasteland

Train Spills 12,000 Gallons of Oil in Minnesota, No Major Cleanup Effort Planned

Moroccan Villagers Occupy Silver Mine

River Contaminated with High Levels of Lead, Arsenic, and Mercury after North Carolina Coal Ash Spill

Ohio Oil Industry Paying to “Educate” Public School Teachers About Fracking

Three Oil Spills in Two Weeks Foul Singapore’s Waters

American Petroleum Institute Kept Tabs on Enviros

Chinese Villagers Attack Factory after Reports of Polluting

Protests Rise against Britain’s Gas Grab in Algeria

Another Day, Another Industrial Disaster: Gas Pipeline Explosion in Kentucky

Another Hour, Another Industrial Disaster: Train Carrying Crude Oil Derails and Spills in Pennsylvania

Mysterious Cracked Earth Oil Spills in Alberta Damaging Cold Lake Ecosystem

Leaked Pennsylvania JTTF Presentation Profiles Earth First! as Environmental Extremists and ecoterrorists.

Mexico: Resistance to Construction of 112 Dams in Veracruz

Pipe Bombs Found in RV Parked at Calif. Power Plant

Eco-warrior or Eco-terrorist? Mongolia Jails Environmentalist for 21 Years

Elderly Nun Sentenced to Nearly 3 yrs for Tennessee Nuclear Break-In

Chevron Apologizes for Fracking Well Explosion with Coupons for Free Pizza

“Frackgate”: Ohio Regulators Planned to Subvert Eco-Groups, Promote Fracking in State Parks

Environmentalist and Communicator from the Siria Valley, Honduras Denounces Threats

Coal Ash Still Contaminating NC River, But State Response Lags

URGENT: Idaho “Ag-Gag” Law Would Make It Illegal to Photograph Factory Farm Cruelty its sponsors are saying undercover investigations by animal welfare groups are terrorism.

Pressure to Construct Xalalá Hydroelectric Dam; Local Opposition Remains Strong

Facebook photo

Tests show different arsenic levels in NC spill

Friday, February 21, 2014

Wal-Mart’s crime problem, Rolling Back Safety more than prices?

A new statistical study has come out indicating that there is a correlation between Wal-Mart and higher crime. Wal-Mart, of course, quickly came out with a statement refuting it, which seems to be how they handle all their problems; but a closer look often indicates that their critics often do a much better job presenting their data, and Wal-Marts denials often have little credibility.

An allegedly independent science web site, “,” also quickly came up with an article refuting it. However, ironically the critics of the study have ignored an enormous amount of data that might indicate that the problem is even worse and the authors of the study also repeated, without scrutiny, the claim that Wal-Mart saves people money as if it is a given fact.

Reclaim Democracy has compiled a list of close to two dozen studies about Wal-Mart and their impact on a variety of subjects, including a 2006 a statistical study based on incidents in 2004, about crime, "Is Wal-Mart Safe?" (PDF), that also indicates that Wal-Mart has more crime than other stores, and A false choice between prices and wages which indicates that their claims to save consumers money are exaggerated, at best; furthermore there are also other sources that have documented how Wal-Mart has pressured their suppliers to cut their expenses and it has come at the expense of quality which I explained further in Is Wal-Mart driving planned obsolescence? You don’t save money if you have to replace products three or four times as often as you used to thirty years ago. .

However the statistics that they cite could be helpful developing a good idea about how much of an impact on crime Wal-mart might have and a closer look at some of the other studies plus some of the actual reports that they decline to address could shed much more light on potential evidence that part of what causes the increase might be Wal-Marts policies. This is an excerpt from an article reporting on the study.

Controversial study explores ‘Walmart effect’ on crime rate

Retail behemoth Walmart may save shoppers money but the presence of the big-box store could be costing communities in terms of public safety, controversial new research suggests.

A study just published in the British Journal of Criminology says unprecedented declines in crime rates in the U.S. beginning in the 1990s were “stunted” in communities where Walmart expanded.

“Our data suggest that there may be something unique about Walmart that produces a relationship with crime,” the American authors wrote in an article titled Rolling Back Prices and Raising Crime Rates? .....

Hours after a press release went out announcing the study Friday, the website Science 2.0 posted a column blasting it as a “mish-mash of conjecture” and accusing the authors of creating a data basis “for their personal and cultural beliefs.”

But lead author and criminologist Scott Wolfe, of the University of South Carolina, dismissed the charge.

“No agenda. Just a terribly interesting research question,” Wolfe said in an interview, adding that he’s shopped at Walmart plenty of times.

While numerous studies have explored the so-called “Walmart effect” on jobs, poverty rates and retail prices, this was the first to examine possible impacts on crime, he said.

Wolfe and criminologist David Pyrooz, of Sam Houston State University, analyzed crime trends in more than 3,000 U.S. counties from the 1990s through the 2000s.

They found that, on average, communities with Walmarts had 17 more property crimes and two more violent crimes per 10,000 people than those communities without Walmarts.

The evidence suggests that Walmart growth “stunted what could have otherwise been greater drops in crime, particularly property crime,” the authors wrote.

Previous research offers possible theories as to why, they said.

Walmart tends to expand in communities with less social capital — and less likelihood of citizen opposition — and in areas with higher-than-average crime rates. The presence of Walmart may further diminish an area’s social capital by reducing the number of community leaders who had worked in thriving local businesses prior to the arrival of Walmart.

Also, the presence of a Walmart may “over-saturate” an area with low-wage jobs, minimizing access to middle-class jobs. ....

They also note that further research is needed to determine whether the “Walmart effect” is unique or whether other big-box retailers have similar effects on communities. Complete article

The following is the abstract from the study. Unfortunately the complete study is only available to subscribers for now.

Rolling Back Prices and Raising Crime Rates? The Walmart Effect on Crime in the United States

Wal-Mart is not an ordinary retail store—communities are impacted in significant ways by its entrance. Using various data sources and propensity-weighted multilevel modelling, this paper explores the ‘Wal-Mart effect’ on crime. Concentrating on the 1990s, results reveal that Wal-Mart is located in United States counties with higher crime rates, net of robust macro-level correlates of crime. Wal-Mart selected into counties primed for the 1990s crime decline, but, after accounting for endogeneity, growth of the company stunted crime declines when compared to matched counties. A Wal-Mart–crime relationship exists. If Wal-Mart did not build in a county, property crime rates fell by an additional 17 units per capita from the 1990s to the 2000s. A marginally statistically significant, yet stable, effect for violent crime was also observed, falling by two units per capita. These findings provide important theoretical implications regarding the influence of specific economic forces on aggregate crime trends and offer important implications for local governments faced with the prospect of Wal-Mart entering their communities. Complete article

There is much more previous research than they cite that could indicate why they might ahve higher crime rates including the 2006 study which probably should ahve been mentioned by them and the people reporting on it, and an enormous amount of raw data, although this isn't statistically representative, some of it could indicate what some of their problems might be and why it might lead to higher crime.

One of the things the 2006 study did was, in additions to citing their statistical work they compiled some responses from various police departments who had to deal with the crime, including some that came from interviews or from newspaper articles.

More recently a Pennsylvania police department reported that they also ahve problems with crime at Wal-Mart in, "Pa. Police Commissioner on Walmart shoppers: 'They're afraid.'" 10/18/2013 And back in 2008 Mesa Arizona went into more detail into their problems and found that wal-Mart exeutives were unwilling to respond to their requests even when they wouldn't cost much money as indicated in "Mesa Ariz. Police say Wal-Mart snubbed efforts to cut shoplifting." 06/27/2008 According to Mesa Police Chief George Gascon, "They are not seeming to want to work with us. They say the right things and never follow through."

This attitude is reflected on a large variety of subjects based on research from most authors who write about Wal-Mart and it is also clear with a large number of the stories where people have complaints. One major problem seems to be that most of the decisions are made in the corporate office and they don't seem to understand how they're implemented in the stores.

One problem, that should seem relatively simple, is the way they lay out many of their stores. Typical store that I went to thirty years ago always had it laid out so that when leaving you always had to go through the registers to get to the exit doors or you had to go past the service center if you didn't decide to buy things for one reason or another where you would be watched by security and any potential shoplifter would know it. Now that is no longer the case in most stores including most large Wal-Marts. A review of the crime reports listed under the author tag "Walmart Crime Watch" clearly indicates that they have a surprisingly large number of people walking out, or at least trying to, with entire carts full of merchandise or large appliances like TVs in plain sight. In many cases the loss prevention officers try to stop them but in many others they don't and in some cases the only reason they catch the shoplifters is because after they get away with entire carts full of stolen goods they do it again. Sometimes they even do it a third time at the same store, in a relatively short period of time, before getting caught.

This should be relatively simple for any retailer to understand and respond to. Another bigger problem with Wal-Mart almost certainly involves blow back from their oppressive work environment and there is an enormous amount of evidence to indicate that some high profile incidents are almost certainly a result of this. There are additional incidents that indicate that they also have problems with many disgruntled customers. The vast majority of workers consumers or other people with complaints about Wal-Mart obviously don't behave like some of the most extreme examples but their stories rarely ever make the news and their concerns ore often never addressed.

John Gillane is clearly one of the exceptions where he did go to extremes and he made it clear that it was in retaliation for what he considered abusive behavior by his superiors. According to an article he shot 3 managers to 'get even and embarrass Wal-Mart,' jurors told. and another article claims that he said “Was I disgruntled? —- yeah, I was disgruntled. I was going to take on Goliath.”

The following year at the same store in Reno Nevada another incident occured according to another article, He Means It: Disgruntled Walmart Employee Threatens To Shoot Boss, Plant Bomb. These aren't the only incidents where disgruntled workers have struck out in extreme manners; the following are some of the higher profile incidents and there are almost certainly many more less dramatic incidents for every one that is so extreme it gathers media attention.

Wal-Mart employee at Virginia Walmart distribution center opens fire, injuring manager and then killing himself 02/22/2012

Updated: Jacksonville Wal-Mart Employee Opens Fire Inside Store, Creating Chaos 04/24/2008

Walmart Employee Pinned to Ground by Coworkers After Coming to Work Drunk 12/28/2012

Police: Area woman threatened to shoot Amsterdam NY co-workers 05/06/2013

Walmart Employee Knocks Out Store Manager in Break Room Fistfight (Video) 07/17/2013

Suspect in Neenah Walmart shooting held on attempted homicide charge 08/19/2013

Montana Police Release Man Who Shot Co-Worker at Wal-Mart Due to State’s Sweeping “Castle Doctrine” Law 08/14/2009

Walmart Shooting Victim Still Critical, Suspect Charged With Attempted Capital Murder 02/03/2014

Conway Ark. Walmart Shooting Victim Tied to Previous Violent Attack 02/14/2014

Jealous Walmart employee shoots car of another employee in Florida 12/15/2013

In many cases when these incidents occur Wal-Mart comes up with a standard statement often saying that this is an "isolated" incident and isn't typical of business at Wal-Mart.

The problem is that these "isolated" incidents seem to happen a lot.

Furthermore if they were organized and a look at many of the similarities many of these stories have they might not appear quite so "isolated" and it might appear that they are semi-common responses for an oppressive work environment.

It isn't just employees who are often angry with Wal-Mart; they often have a lot of disgruntled customers that are fed up with what they perceive as bad products or service including a Punta Gorda Fla. man went on violent spree after being told he couldn't return his printer at a Charlotte County Walmart and a Laurel Md. Man who Pointed a BB Gun At Wal-Mart Worker Who Denied Requests To Return Items. In both these cases they reported them in a manner that implies it might be completely the fault of the suspects for overreacting and little or no effort was made to find out if they really did have legitimate complaints and over reacted to them.

However there are plenty of stories about how bad they treat their customers who don't over react and it would be understandable if some people were angry with how they were treated after hearing about incidents like a Newberry Walmart Employee who Crashes Customer's Car and How a Father Was Treated After Walmart Sold Him a Bad Batch of Gift Cards. These are just a small example of the higher profile incidents reported about bad service at Wal-Mart but the vast majority of minor incident almost never make the news so it would be much easier to find out about them by simply considering problems that some people might have had that they know on the grass roots level. I know of a few examples where people had to return things that were broken right out of the package and they had to go out of their way to get replacements but received no compensation for that; and there are many more where people were upset because their products only last a fraction of the time they used to.

Another obvious indicator that Wal-Mart is almost certainly a contributing factor when it comes to higher crime is the enormous amount of problems they have during Black Friday and the rest of the Christmas season as I indicated in Count down to Annual Black Friday Riots! and Why no discussion on preventing Black Friday Riots in the media? Many customers have found that Wal-Mart has often not been providing the items that they advertised and in at least one case Customers say Walmart sent cops to announce an out-of-stock Black Friday sale item instead of management.

Is it really any wonder why a lot of people are angry with Wal-Mart? They obtain their market share as a result of their political influence, not because customers are happy with them; then once they gain dominance in any given market they no longer have to worry about losing their customers since the small businesses that provide better service and more sincere advertising are gone.

Wal-Mart often uses their political advantage to get tax breaks that give them advantages over those smaller business then when they go out of business they no longer pay taxes and many towns ahve much less revenue, yet some of them use their [police and courts to prosecute some incredibly trivial crimes like when Walmart Presse Felony Charge In Oreo Theft and when police were called in to investigate the taking of an energy drink which turned out to be a mistake, McClellan: Crime and punishment at the Highland Walmart

The high number of bomb threats that Wal-Mart receives is also an indicator of how angry some people are with Wal-Mart. They get hundreds if not thousands of bomb threats every year and they are often investigated at tax payers expense, but they never seem to consider the obvious possibility that some of the people making them are doing so because they have grievances with Wal-Mart. Obviously this isn't the appropriate way to treat these grievances but as I explained in Who is threatening to bomb Wal-Mart and why? there is an enormous amount of evidence to indicate that it is worth considering anyway. Many of the people calling in the bomb threats are often employees of Wal-Mart and in some cases it is clear that it is because they're disgruntled, however, in most cases the reports don't even address potential motive and little or no effort is made to figure out if this is a pattern. There have also been many cases where customers have been disgruntled and responded with bomb threats and teenagers as well, who might be doing this for unrelated reasons, but some of them are almost certainly in response to Wal-Mart's bad policies.

This doesn't mean that Wal-Mart is the sole cause for higher crime and the Criminologists aren't necessarily implying that they are. This is probably especially true when it comes to violent crime. As I indicated in several posts including, "Child abuse and bullying link in study long over due," the leading cause of violence later in life is almost certainly early abuse and many of the people that go to extremes almost certainly have a record of that if they're typical of other people that have involved in violent crime and researched by various psychologists and Criminologists. This is also a method that is often used to teach children to be obedient to authority and Wal-Mart looks for that in their employees when they can get it. Understanding this can be very helpful when it comes to hiring and training people that will obey orders without question and convincing them that they shouldn't support unions to help them stand up for their rights.

A closer review of this subject and how many kids are subject to corporal punishment might also correlate with the states that have the highest violent crimes. I haven't reviewed the details of this but according to a study, Correlation Between High Rates of Corporal Punishment in Public Schools and Social Pathologies.: "Of the states with the ten highest murder rates in the United States, educators paddle children in eight of them; Of the states with the ten lowest murder rates in the nation, educators paddle children in one of them; Of the ten states with the highest percentage of the population in prison, educators paddle children in nine of them; and Of the ten states with the lowest percentage of the population in prison, educators do not paddle children in any of them." It might also partially explain why a large percentage of those involved in some of these crimes are minorities. According to an article about the Nineteen States That Allow Teachers to Spank Children African American males are much more likely to be subject to corporeal punishment. This may not seem related to Wal-Mart but it is an important contributing factor that needs to be addressed and it is related to how obedience to authority is taught.the reason for the reduction in violent crime over the last several decades is almost certainly related to the reduction in violent child rearing methods. these authoritarian methods haven't reduced at Wal-mart although they aren't the same as those used with children.

Stanley Milgram and Philip Zimbardo have both done research into obedience to authority and Philip Zimbardo wrote about how it impacts fast food workers or potentially Wal-Mart workers in the following excerpt.

In her book Making Fast Food: From the Frying Pan into the Fryer, the Canadian sociologist Ester Reiter concludes that obedience to authority is the most valued trait in fast-food workers. "The assembly-line process very deliberately tries to take away any thought or discretion from workers. They are appendages to the machine," she said in a recent interview. Retired FBI special agent Dan Jablonski, a private detective who investigated some of these hoaxes, said, "You and I can sit here and judge these people and say they were blooming idiots. But they aren't trained to use common sense. They are trained to say and think, 'Can I help you?' " "The Lucifer Effect" 2007 p.279-81

For more about Philip Zimbardo and his work for the Office of Naval Research and possible CIA connections see Philip Zimbardo, Lucifer Effect, Stanford Prison Experiment Philip Zimbardo, Lucifer Effect, Stanford Prison Experiment

Wal-Mart is well known for their union busting activities as Mother Jones reported in Up Against Wal-Mart and I pointed out in Union Busting adds to corrupt bureaucracy and incites crime. Barbara Ehrenreich and Bob Ortega both reported about how Wal-Mart interviews their potential employees and they ask questions where there is supposedly no right or wrong answers as part of the interview process; this is almost certainly part of their process screening people that they might consider less likely to develop independent thought and more likely to obey authority and reject unions.

Wal-Mart may not start the escalation of violence which often starts with early child abuse, escalates later in life with bullying and hazing but they maintain an environment where it continues to escalate. By not reporting on the research that could educate the public about how to avoid escalating violence the media may also be a contributing factor. If they had reported more on it the reduction of violence that has been occurring over the last thirty years might have been even greater.

Clearly there was much more information to support the conclusion that Wal-Mart activities contributes to crime than either the supporters of this study or the critics cite. One of the researchers that I cited in the previous blog about Child abuse leading to bullying and later violence is Murray Strauss who routinely cites many more studies that have been cross checked. These could be helpful in understanding this problem and it could have supported their findings as well even if it doesn't directly apply to Wal-Mart. The 2006 study also contributes further evidence so it is hard to imagine why they would have declined to acknowledge it. If there were dozens if not hundreds of studies on the subject then it would be understandable if someone like Murray Strauss might not be able to include them all but it seems to me that it would have been in the best interest of the researchers to use this to support their work.

Science2.0 doesn't acknowledge this study either nor do they seem to provide any further research to support their article criticizing the study in the following excerpts.

Criminologists Blame Wal-Mart For Crime

Wal-Mart caters to people with less money and there has long been a link between poverty and crime.

Criminologists have instead taken the additional step of implicating Wal-Mart in crime rates.

Communities across the United States saw decline in crime during the 1990s. Some said it was due to more abortions, others due to more police and a society less willing to coddle criminals. Scott Wolfe, assistant professor of criminology and criminal justice at the University of South Carolina, and David Pyrooz, assistant professor of criminal justice and criminology at Sam Houston State University, write in the British Journal of Criminology, says it had to do with Wal-Mart not being there.

Mainstream media go cuckoo for weak observational studies so this should be a big hit.

As humanities scholars often do, they were determined to create a data basis for their personal and cultural beliefs, and because Wal-Mart puts up stores where it will reach its market, it was simple to transpose the crime rate of poor neighborhoods onto the company.

"The crime decline was stunted in counties where Wal-Mart expanded in the 1990s," says Wolfe. "If the corporation built a new store, there were 17 additional property crimes and 2 additional violent crimes for every 10,000 persons in a county."

There you have it; correlation = causation. If there are terrorist attacks in Sochi during the Winter Olympics, we can blame them on the price of apples the same way.

They blame the "Wal-Mart effect", the belief that the company's influence retail prices creates crime, seemingly because people have more money to spend on other things. Yet they say they don't intend to criticize Wal-Mart. We are to believe a title like "Rolling back prices and raising crime rates" for an article was data-driven.

Even the phrase "less ability to prevent" oozes with agenda. Why would poor people protest Wal-Mart in the first place?

The paper is a mish-mash of conjecture. They can't blame Wal-Mart for higher crime so they instead imply that crime rates would have dropped more if Wal-Mart never existed. Their findings didn't show that Wal-Mart growth corresponded with increases in poverty, economic disadvantage or other factors associated with crime yet they still blame the company for crime. Complete article

It didn't take long for someone to add the following comment to this article.

This article about this study demonstrates both ignorance about the study's authors and the purpose and intention of the study itself. Pyrooz and Wolfe are criminal justice criminologists, not theoretical criminologists or sociologists who lean decidedly left as the author of this article is pointedly suggesting. Your phrase "oozes with agenda" is far more appropriate to you with your own obvious political agenda. And to Susan Nash who comments above, you are wrong. The article is not about crime in the store itself but rather the crime in the community where Wal-Marts are located.

The facts are the facts. Crime didn't drop as much in communities where Wal-Marts were located vs identical communities where Wal-Marts were not located.

Now we have people from both sides claiming that the other side "oozes with agenda," which isn't that uncommon, although I'm not sure it is the most scientific way of addressing disagreements. How should people know which side to trust? It seems to me that this claim could just as easily apply to "Wake Up Wal-Mart," who did the 2006 study, to Wal-Mart themselves, and presumably some people might think it might apply to me as well. It seems to me that they might be better off trusting the people that do the best job showing the work assuming that it holds up to scrutiny. After reading the 2006 study my impression is that even though "Wake Up Wal-Mart" is admittedly trying to convince Wal-Mart to change their business practices they did a much better job showing their work and it is much higher quality than the typical prepared statements that come from Wal-Mart. Furthermore if they did more to address the legitimate concerns of Wal-Mart workers that have been protesting peacefully for years now, then maybe more of these disgruntled workers would feel they have alternatives that are much more effective instead of going to extreme measures. These incidents endanger the workers but not the people in the corporate offices that make policy decisions that contribute to these problems. And these workers aren't compensated nearly as well even though they're the ones that take the real risks when these incidents happen.

Science2.0, on the other hand doesn't seem to provide any support for their claims; ironically they might even provide some support for the claims of the criminologist; or at least they might if missing information was considered. They admit that "there has long been a link between poverty and crime" but they decline to consider the studies that indicate that when Wal-mart comes to town it increases poverty. Some of these studies were listed at Reclaim Democracy yet the authors from Science2.0 declined to take this into consideration. If Wal-Mart leads to increasing poverty and increasing poverty leads to higher crime then Wal-Mart leads to higher crime. Not to complicated.

They are probably right about the claim that "Mainstream media go cuckoo for weak observational studies" but they hardly seemed to pay any attention to this study at all contrary to the authors claim that "this should be a big hit." This has been covered by many alternative media outlets but I haven't seen much coverage from the traditional media at all; and some of the media outlets that did cover it have cited the claim that Science 2.0 blasted the study without doing much to review it, and given more priority to Wal-Mart's response. The commercial media gets it's revenue from advertising and Wal-Mart provides an enormous amount of that which almost certainly has an impact on how they cover news about them. When they report on these violent incidents they are almost always brief and only at the local level and they ignore the vast majority of research critical of Wal-Mart, but sometimes cover "weak observational studies" that often support Wal-Mart. Even though I think this study could have cited much more material, or at least the media could have, the material they did cover seems far more rational than Wal-Mart or Science2.0. A relatively quick look at a few of the other articles on Science2.0 seems to imply that many of them seem to suit the interests of many corporations which might raise further doubts about their credibility especially if more knowledge about their funding was available.

Science2.0's claims don't seem much more credible than Wal-Mart's Response to Wake Up Wal-Mart’s Crime Study Release which also ignores an enormous amount of inconvenient data and they cite a supposedly "independent analysis discussing the defects in the UFC," but the link is dead so there is no way to review this analysis. I may have cited far more sources than many people would be able to keep track of but at least those that care to could take the time to review them and come to their own conclusions. If anyone is interested the following are some more articles on the subject and the way it is covered by mostly alternative media outlets. Some of them include a significant amount of feedback by some people that might have first hand knowledge with Wal-mart and it could inform people about how they're reacting to it.

Controversial study explores ‘Walmart effect’ on crime rate 02/07/2014

Controversial study explores ‘Walmart effect’ on crime rate 02/07/2014

Rolling back prices and crime rates study 02/07/2014

Rolling Back Prices And Crime Rates Study 02/07/2014

Walmart Linked To Higher Crime Rates: Study

Jezebel: Communities With More Walmart Stores Also Have More Crime 02/13/2014

Crooks and Liars: Rolling Back Safety? New Study Reveals Crime Rates Higher Near Walmart Stores

Alternet: When Walmart Comes to Town, So Does Crime

Rolling Back Safety? New Study Reveals Crime Rates Higher Near Walmart Stores f


Science Daily: Drop in crime rates are less where Wal-Mart builds, study shows

Nature World News: Crime Reduction of '90s Lessened by Wal-Mart's Presence

Consumer Affairs: Falling prices, rising crime?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Wal-Mart Crime report January 2014

Wal-Mart had at least a couple of angry customers that went to extremes this month. One of them was angry about a broken printer which he wound up smashing what was left of it when they refused to take it back; and another pulled a BB gun out that looked like a machine gun and pointed at the clerk when he refused to take back a tablet and a pair of headphones. I don’t know if they had a legitimate complaint but I do know there is an enormous amount of reporting exposing the fact that Wal-Mart has been pressuring their suppliers to cut costs more every year and this inevitably leads to problems. As I have reported previously many of their products fall apart much faster than they used to and it is extremely frustrating for customers who have to return or replace them much more often.

They also had at least a couple disgruntled customers that had blatant complaints which weren’t handled well even though Wal-Mart was obviously at fault. One of them had their car damaged by a Wal-Mart employee and was left without transportation until after it made big news and Wal-Mart felt they had to address it to minimize damage to what little is left of their reputation. The other bought gift cards that contained blank Starbuck cards instead of prepaid Mastercards and even though he opened the second in front of the manager he still refused to repay him and sent him to his supplier.

Is it really any wonder why they might have more crime and angry customers than other stores?

They didn’t dominate the market by treating their customers well; they did so by using their political connections to gain an advantage over other companies.

They had their usual number of shootings including one example where one of their employees said, “I’m not making enough money to put my life in jeopardy,” although others at the incident may have done just that. Ironically this is the first time where I have seen them overreact when a customer was robbed; all the previous incidents where they might have reacted this way were to prevent robbers from stealing from Wal-Mart. However there was another report about a law suit where they did little or nothing to protect their customer.

At least one of the people involved in armed robbery demonstrated knowledge of where the safe was leading the police to believe that he was probably a current or former employee. There have been quite a few incidents with disgruntled employees although I haven’t counted them, but another shooting happened on the first of February by a Wal-Mart employee.

They’re having serious problems in both China and Mexico; past stories have indicated that their expansions in India and Africa aren’t going well either. One of their suppliers in Guatemala was caught red handed stealing from their workers.

It is highly unlikely that Wal-Mart will be prosecuted nearly as vigorously as those that steal from them even though they are much more involved in a variety of white collar activities that should be considered crimes and in some cases they are, ranging from endangering lives in sweatshops to false advertising and many other things.

Barack Obama criticized Wal-Mart during the state of the union but shortly after that he said that Wal-Mart and other companies have agreed to help increase the availability of jobs.

They kept that promise by announcing over two thousand lay offs within a day or two after Obama announced they made it; most of these are apparently management jobs from Sam’s Club, which implies that it is in addition to the end of temporary holiday hiring.

Not everyone is upset with Wal-Mart though; a bird in Texas was quite pleased to stay in one of their stores for weeks and eat all he could find.

Strange things happen at Wal-Mart!

In 2006 Wake Up Wal-Mart did a study, "Is Wal-Mart Safe?" based on incidents in 2004, (PDF) about crime at Wal-Mart which showed that it increased when Wal-Marts opened up and that crime was higher at Wal-Mart than at other retailers. Since then Wal-Mart Shootings began compiling a list of gun related incidents at Wal-Mart and demonstrated that they have a large number of them, including on average more than one shooting per week somewhere in the country. I also added my own review about why I think that Wal-Mart policies have been contributing to higher crime in a blog, Wal-Mart high crime rate continues uninvestigaterd and have provided additional information under the author tag Walmart Crime Watch.

Stacy Mitchell has also compiled a list of other studies about Wal-Mart and how they impact society, Key Studies on Big-Box Retail & Independent Business. To the best of my knowledge Wal-Mart has done as little as they seem to get away with, often relying on rhetoric that isn't backed up with action, when it comes to addressing any of their critics concerns, including crime. The following are a list of incidents that occurred in January 2014. According to the "Is Wal-Mart Safe?" the average store in their sampling had 250 incidents per year, indicating that these are only a fraction of the crime reports at Wal-Mart, and presumably, the ones most likely to make the news on the internet nationwide. This isn't statistically representative, as the 2006 study or some of the studies cited by Stacy Mitchell; but it does provide some additional information that may help recognize how many problems there are at Wal-Mart.

Man steals realistic BB gun from Louisiana Walmart, tries carjacking, robs store, and shot dead by police 01/01/2014

Police: Suspects forge checks, buy thousands in goods from Eureka Missouri Walmart 01/02/2014

Man's Body Found At Walmart Parking Lot In Ohio; No Foul Play Suspected 01/02/2014

Police: Women steal leggings, underwear from Shelby NC Walmart 01/02/2014

Police: Man's fraudulent returns at Ark. Walmart land him in jail 01/02/2014

Masked men steal donation box from Ga. Walmart store 01/02/2014

Dyersburg Tenn. Man Arrested After Leaving Child In Truck Outside Walmart 01/03/2014

Officer, suspect injured in crash, chase that started at Nev. Wal-Mart 01/03/2014

NJ Police: Dispatcher stole drugs from Target, Wal-Mart 01/03/2014

Police seek man who robbed Wake Forest NC Walmart money center 01/03/2014

Joking gone awry at Bastrop Tx. Walmart 01/04/2014 Bastrop police say a Walmart employee who falsely reported over a store walkie-talkie that a robbery was occurring on Christmas Eve morning created “a very serious” incident.

Canyon Lake, Wildomar Men Arrested In Connection With Ca. Walmart Investigation 01/03/2014

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. : Fla. Suspect wanted to be on Death Row ; It seemed a safer place to man who is accused of raping, killing Cherish 01/03/2014

6 Ga. Walmart employees charged with theft 01/01/2014

Man Walks Into Madison Heights Va. Walmart, Steals TV, Investigators Say 01/03/2014

Two men snatch iPad from Walmart in Evesham Township NJ 01/03/2014

Man wanted in retail theft at Silver Spring Pa. Walmart 01/03/2014

Cops: Attempted purse snatching inside Portage Ill. Walmart lands two men in jail 01/02/2014

Tenn. Walmart employee reports assault 01/04/2014

Spartanburg SC police searching for shoplifter who pepper sprayed Walmart employees 01/02/2014

NC Walmart theft leads to man's arrest on gun, drug charges 01/02/2014

Youngstown slaying suspect nabbed outside Columbus Walmart 01/02/2014

Appeals court trims sentence in case of Christmas Eve 2011 NY Walmart attack 01/04/2014

Laurel Md. Wal-Mart Evacuated Due To High Carbon Monoxide Levels 01/05/2014

LAUREL, Md. (WJZ) — Customers are shopping again at an Anne Arundel County Wal-Mart after the store shut down for hours.

Paramedics were in the building for another incident when the alarm suddenly went off for a carbon monoxide scare.

Rochelle Ritchie explains what happened.

If it had not been for carbon monoxide detectors worn by paramedics, no one in the building would have known that high levels of the poisonous gas were spreading. Complete article

Lexington SC Walmart Evacuates due to carbon monoxide leak 01/05/2014

Two arrested in Tenn. Walmart purse theft 01/05/2014

Man charged with child abuse after incident outside Clarksville Tenn. Walmart 01/05/2014

Two arrested for retail theft at Penn. Walmart 01/05/2014

Police trying to identify two men at SC Walmart 01/05/2014

Arizona PD: Officer chases Walmart shoplifter before arresting him, girlfriend 01/05/2014

PHOENIX - Police say an officer had to run after a shoplifter Sunday evening at a Walmart in Phoenix before arresting him and his girlfriend.

The Phoenix police officer responded to a call regarding a shoplifter at the Walmart near Bethany Home Road and 15th Avenue, said Sgt. Steve Martos.

The officer was about to handcuff the suspect in a security office when the suspect ran out, according to Martos.

As the officer tried to get out of the office, the suspect reportedly slammed the door on the officer's arm and shoulder.

Martos said the suspect ran into a woman, who is a few months pregnant, and knocked her to the ground. Complete article

Three accused of stealing from NY Walmart 01/06/2014

Woman given jail time for her part in Wisc. Walmart thefts 01/06/2014

Evesham NJ police seeking Walmart shoplifting suspects 01/04/2014

Hunters fire on Mass. Walmart 01/02/2014

WV Walmart removes personal injury lawsuit to federal court 01/03/2014

Walmart shoppers, there's not a problem with your delivery: Plain Dealing E-Mail scam 01/0/2014

Police searching for suspect in Tenn. Walmart laptop thefts 01/06/2014

Fla. Walmart manager fired after jumping in back of theft suspect's truck 01/06/2014

Three arrested for stealing over $1500 in goods from Warsaw NY Wal-mart 01/06/2014

Police: These men went to Bellevue Wash. Walmart just to rob shoppers 01/07/2014

Women attacked by robbers in Bellevue Wash. Walmart lot 01/07/2014

Gulfport Miss. woman accused in embezzlement at Wal-Mart 01/07/2014

Teen arrested after Walmart armed robbery at 44th Street and Peoria Avenue in Tulsa Ok. 01/07/2014

Whittlesey Boulevard Ga. Walmart robbed by alleged armed shoplifters 01/08/2014

Suspects accused of beating Tx. Walmart greeter 01/08/2014

Two bomb threats in two days at Statesville NC Walmart 01/08/2014

UPDATE: Stolen car returned to Ok. Wal-Mart worker by vigilant viewer 01/09/2014

Fla. Wal-Mart check forgery suspect wanted 01/09/2014

Bomb threat prompts evacuation of Walmart in Tarboro NC 01/10/2014

Charlotte NC Walmart reopens after bomb threat 01/09/2014

75-year-old woman robbed in Charlotte NC Walmart parking lot 01/09/2014

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Police in Albemarle say they are interviewing possible suspects in a robbery that may have sent an elderly woman to the hospital with serious heart problems.

The woman, who is 75, was leaving the Walmart on Leonard Drive in Albemarle at 2:45 Wednesday afternoon when police say a man offered to return her shopping cart, then grabbed her purse and pushed her to the ground.

The woman had scrapes and bruises, but later complained about heart problems and an ambulance took her to the hospital in Albemarle. Complete article

Tenn. Walmart Thief Tased, Caught by Store Security 01/10/2014

Police: Newberry Pa. Walmart parker exposed genitals, wrote sex note 01/10/2014

Attack at Bellevue Wa. Walmart caught on video 01/09/2014

Tx. Walmart Employee Admits to Stealing Cash 01/09/2014

Man indicted in Ohio Walmart stabbing 01/09/2014

Vineland NJ Police: Walmart baby formula thefts possibly related 01/09/2014

Six Charged in Retail Thefts from Hilltown Pa. Walmart, Police Say 01/09/2014

Two arrested on shoplifting charges at Mont. Wal-Mart 01/08/2014

This Is How a Father Was Treated After Ca. Walmart Sold Him a Bad Batch of Gift Cards 01/09/2014

Ken Mumper purchased several prepaid Vanilla Mastercards for his family — only to find that each gift card envelope contained a blank Starbucks card.

And Walmart refuses to give the California man a refund.

When Mumper discovered the error, he took the cards back to the Chino, Calif., Walmart where he bought them. He even left one un-opened so the store manager could see for herself what he was talking about.

“And she opened it and sure enough another Starbucks card,” the father told KNBC-TV.

The Walmart manager told him the store was aware of the problem and that they had already pulled the faulty gift cards from their shelves – but she added the mistake was not their fault and she refused to give the father a refund.

“The fact they were aware that there was a problem but they were not willing to take responsibility for it was quite frustrating,” Mumper said. Complete article

Stolen Ambulance Found in McHenry County; Suspect arrested at Belvidere Ill. Walmart 01/09/2014

Knife wielder threatens Ariz. Walmart workers 01/07/2014

2 Accused Of Using Stolen Credit Card At Fayette Co. Pa. Walmart 01/10/2014

Police: 4 Bomb threats at local NC Walmarts part of nationwide trend 01/10/2014 This isn't a new trend at all; as previous crime reports have indicated there have been plenty of these bomb threats for years. Some of these threats include extortion requests that often involve putting money on prepaid cards like these ones; however these are ineffective methods for extortion requests and can't possibly succeed. None of the threats that I have seen have resulted in real bombs or success in extorting money. If they did put money on the cards then it would be incredibly easy for the police to trace them and catch the people making the threats and both the police and the callers should easily figure this out.

Video shows couple who used stolen credit cards to buy gift cards from Tx. Walmart 01/10/2014

Newberry SC Walmart Employee Crashes Customer's Car 01/10/2014

Newberry County, SC (WLTX) -- A Prosperity woman took her car in for an oil change, but ended up with a car she couldn't even drive.

"I need something to drive to get these kids to school," Misti Colson said.

Colson's youngest children have been stuck inside the house since Sunday afternoon.

And it isn't due to the weather.

"It was time to get my oil changed anyway, my oil light came on, so I took it on in to Walmart. 10,15 minutes later they're calling me to come back," she said. "The manager walked in and he's like, 'I really don't know how to tell you this,' he said 'But, one of our techs has just crashed your car through the bay door and ultimately into the guardrail behind the store."

As you can see Colson's 2007 Saturn Ion isn't drivable.

The store manger told police two employees were working on the car when it crashed through the door and hit the guard rail.

After the incident, Walmart staff gave her the number to their insurance company.

"They pretty much washed their hands of me, or so I feel, and CMI is pulling teeth to get in touch with them," Colson said.

"My car is still sitting in the yard and that's a charge every day that it sits there, no rental car, no work, and I still have bills to pay and kids to take care of," she said. Complete article

This isn't entirely unprecedented; in 1995 a customer had his truck stolen and stripped for parts and he was treated even worse until it made national news, Truck Stolen, Stripped, But Still Gets Owner Runaround. In both cases it wasn't until after tehy made headlines that Wal-Mart agreed to pay reperations, or partial reperations.

Saturday crash near Danville NY Walmart injures two 01/11/2014

Fla. Walmart Shoplifters Arrested 01/12/2014

Police say Raynham Mass. Walmart sold alcohol to minor 01/13/2014

Man sets fire at Mich. Walmart, steals 01/13/2014

Man arrested for stealing from Al. Wal-Mart 01/13/2014

Young couple wanted for stealing doll from an 8-year-old in Tuscaloosa Al. Wal-Mart in December 01/13/2014

TUSCALOOSA, Alabama -- The Tuscaloosa Police Department is looking for a young couple who entered the city's Wal-Mart in December then left after stealing a doll from the shopping cart of an 8-year-old girl and her grandmother.

Sgt. Brent Blankley, the department's public information officer, said the doll belonged to the girl and had for more than a year, it was not for sale.

The unidentified victims of the pair of thieves had stepped away from their cart to shop for clothes on the evening of December 14, and when they returned, the male suspect had taken the girl's doll from her shopping cart and walked away. Complete article

Tuscaloosa Al. Crime Stoppers offers cash reward for man who stole lawn equipment from Wal-Mart 01/13/2014

Counterfeit Bill Found at North Bismark ND Walmart 01/13/2014

Man arrested after 'register rage' at Punta Gorda Fla. Walmart 01/13/2014

Four of 5 suspects in Bellevue Walmart robbery arrested 01/13/2014

Police release Walmart security photos of suspect in theft of 180 used car batteries from Mount Pleasant Mich.-area store 01/13/2014

Walmart, Target scam hits Hamilton Ohio residents 01/13/2014

2 workers struck at Des Moines Iowa Wal-Mart; man charged 01/14/2014

Man accused of taking photo of boy in Fla. Walmart bathroom takes plea deal 01/14/2014

Gregory Ferrentino of Toms River charged with shoplifting laptop from Walmart in Brick NJ 01/15/2014

Warrenton Missouri man gets 8 years for robbery at Walmart 01/15/2014

Pair steals $1,400 in merchandise from Murfreesboro Tenn. Walmart 01/15/2014

Customer captures bird on camera inside Tx. Walmart eating food for weeks

KATY, Texas -- There are plenty of birds hanging around outside the Walmart on Market Place Drive in Katy. Ranell Roy is only worried about one.

"When I hit the corner, my first reaction was really" said Roy.

A single grackle managed to get inside the store and Roy watched it for weeks.

He snapped pictures of it on the bread aisle. The next week, he decided to shoot video as the bird was pecking away at some packaged steak.

"It's been gaining some weight," he said. "Definitely not a vegan."

After watching the bird, he brought it to an employee's attention.

"There's an employee about ten feet away stocking the meat on the shelves," Roy recalled. "So I tap her like hey ma'am either Walmart has some really fresh product or there's a wild bird right behind you."

Roy was sure after two week of bird watching inside the store that it would be gone.

But on his third visit in three weeks, it was still there. Complete article

Van crashes into Westerly RI Wal-Mart, driver injured 01/15/2014

Mich. Walmart fire suspect reportedly kills self after Granger chase 01/15/2014

GRANGER -- A man who turned a gun on himself in a Granger neighborhood late Tuesday was suspected of setting a Niles Walmart on fire this past weekend, according to a report by WSBT-TV.

According to the station, Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey confirmed the dead man who was the subject of a large manhunt in the Granger area late Tuesday was the man suspected in the Walmart fire. Complete article

Saginaw County Mich. probationer accused of exposing himself to 6-year-old girl in Walmart toy aisle 01/15/2014

PD: Armed robber pepper sprays NC WalMart cashier 01/1/2014

Penn. Walmart workers didn't protect her from attack, customer claims in federal lawsuit 01/15/2014

A woman who claims store employees didn't intercede to protect her when she was accosted by other customers in a Harrisburg-area Walmart is suing the mega-retailer in federal court.

Dawn E. Dubois of Gettysburg claims in the U.S. Middle District Court suit filed this week that she was attacked and injured during an Oct. 14 incident at the Walmart on Grayson Road in Swatara Township.

According to the suit, Dubois, her husband and young son were shopping when they encountered two women who were screaming at a cashier at a check-out area.

Because their harangues to the cashier were profane, Dubois' husband politely asked the women to watch their language, the suit states. Dubois claims the women then turned on her family, "getting right in their faces and physically threatening them."

Her husband made several pleas for help to Walmart employees, to no avail, she claims. A crowd gathered to watch the confrontation, Dubois contends, and one of the women chest-bumped her and then kicked her in the stomach. Complete article

Police name 1 of 3 suspects in Lindale Tx. Walmart armed robbery 01/15/2014

Augusta woman arrested after allegedly stealing from Home Depot, Walmart in Waterville Me. 01/15/2014

Midland Mich. police discover mobile meth lab after responding to retail fraud call at Walmart 01/15/2014

Man accused of exposing himself to Tenn. Walmart shoppers 01/15/2014

Man threatened to kill 2 Fla. Walmart workers, police say 01/15/2014

Suspect fires at Tx. Walmart employees who were chasing him after purse-snatching 01/15/2014

Suspect fires at Tx. Walmart employees who were chasing him after purse-snatching 01/15/2014

HOUSTON—There were frightening moments at a Neighborhood Walmart in Spring Branch Wednesday morning when a suspect snatched a woman’s purse and fired at employees who were trying to stop him.

According to Houston police, a woman in her late 20s or 30s was grocery shopping at the store in the 2700 block of Gessner around 9:15 a.m. when a man with gun rushed her and snatched her purse.

”There was a robbery and I said I’m not making enough money to put my life in jeopardy. So I watched my supervisor run out the door,” said Howard, who works at the store.

But while Howard stayed behind, other employees sprang into action.

The Walmart employees were giving chase when the suspect pulled out a gun and started shooting at them. Luckily, no one was hurt. Complete article

About 2,200 rounds of ammunition stolen from Walmart store in Centennial Colorado; suspect sought 01/15/2014

CENTENNIAL, Colo. - Arapahoe County sheriff's investigators are asking the public to help identify a man who stole thousands of rounds of ammunition from a Centennial Walmart store in October.

The sheriff's office released surveillance photos of the suspect, who was wearing a yellow baseball cap with a green bill, a gray long-sleeve T-shirt and blue jeans.

On Oct. 14, 2013, the man entered the Walmart store at 10900 E. Briarwood Ave., forced open a locked case containing ammunition, loaded the ammunition into a shopping cart, and rolled it out of the store, the sheriff's office said. The suspect then reentered the store and was seen leaving with a bag containing unknown items. Complete article

Albemarle NC police make arrest in Walmart purse snatching 01/15/2014

5 Charged In Theft Scheme At Indiana County Penn. Walmart 01/16/2014

Printer return rampage at Deep Creek Fla. Walmart 01/16/2014

CHARLOTTE COUNTY - A Punta Gorda man went on violent spree after being told he couldn't return his printer at a Charlotte County Walmart.

On Tuesday, 24-year-old Jose Morales went to the Walmart in Deep Creek off Kings Highway and demanded the store take back his printer.

Store clerks said they couldn't offer him a refund because he didn't have a receipt and the purchase was made over three months ago.

Deputies say Morales then became irate and started cursing and smashing the printer on the floor before throwing it at the two clerks who ducked behind the counter.

Morales stormed away and chest-bumped an assistant manager and karate-kicked an anti-theft secuirty device causing $500 in damage, according to reports. Complete article

Raleigh man passed threatening note to rob NC Walmart, police say 01/16/2014

SC man pleads guilty to taking picture up woman's skirt at Walmart 01/16/2014

Biscoe NC Walmart evacuated after bomb threat 01/16/2014

Suspicious bag found near gas pump at Rogers Ark. Walmart 01/16/2014

Man caught stealing from Tenn. Walmart repeatedly 01/1/2014

Butler County man exposed himself in Walmart, police say 01/16/2014

Man arrested at Ridgeland Mississippi Walmart after stabbing pharmacist 01/16/2014

Self-defense cited in Murrysville Pa. Wal-Mart fight 01/16/2014

Police Want To Identify Man Who Stole Tablets From Tenn. Walmart 01/17/2014

Suspected Walmart purse snatcher arrested in Shelton Wash. 01/17/2014

Man tries to steal 50-inch TV and a getaway car from Conn. Walmart 01/17/2014

Man attempting to shoplift at Iowa Wal-Mart strikes vehicle, employee while fleeing 01/17/2014

Woman hits pedestrian, cars outside Tempe Ariz. Walmart 01/18/2014

Indy Wal-Mart worker recognizes suspect in Bloomington Taco Bell robbery 01/19/2014

Pedestrian struck, killed near Fort Campbell Boulevard Tenn. Walmart 01/20/2014

Fire inside southeast side Houston Tx. Walmart sends customers, workers running 01/20/2014

On Your Side Alert: Fake Walmart Mystery Shopping offer 01/19/2014

Pearl Mississippi police: Walmart ambush attack not consistent with 'Knockout Game' 01/20/2014

Police: Shoplifting suspect leaves baby at Walmart in southwest Houston Tx. 01/20/2014

Bomb threat made to Round Rock Tx. Walmart 01/20/2014

Bomb threat forces evacuation of Bloomington Ind. Walmart 01/20/2014

Shoplifter steals phone at gunpoint at Aberdeen Md. Walmart 01/21/2014

Man Attempts to Steal From ND Walmart 01/21/2014

Police: Laurel Md. Man Points BB Gun At Wal-Mart Worker Who Denied Requests To Return Items 01/21/2014

LAUREL, Md. (WJZ)— A customer pointed a machine gun at a Wal-Mart employee after he was told he could not return items without a receipt.

The gun turned out to be a CO2 powered BB gun.

Shahzad M. Iqbal, 41, faces attempted robbery, attempted first-degree assault and possession of CDS charges.

It happened Monday just before 11 p.m. at the Wal-Mart located in the 3500-block of Russett Green East in Laurel.

A woman working at the customer service counter told police Iqbal approached the counter and attempted to return a used electronic tablet device, but his request was refused as he was unable to provide a receipt. He then took a pair of headphones off of his head and requested to return them as well. His request was again denied because he didn’t have a receipt.

That’s when things turned worse. Complete article

Fall River Mass. Police search for Wal-Mart shoplifter 01/21/2014

Salem Or. man sentenced to life in prison for Walmart slaying 01/21/2014

Police: Woman tries to leave Tenn. Walmart with $430 in merchandise 01/21/2014

Bayonne NJ Walmart worker charged in shoplifting scheme, police say 01/22/2014

Police: Austin Tx. man threw Walmart employee to the ground and punched a deputy in the face 01/22/2014

An Austin man is in the Williamson County Jail after police say he threw a 57-year-old Walmart employee to the ground and punched a deputy in the face.

Justin Robert Dawes, 32, has been charged with public intoxication, possession of a controlled substance, resisting arrest, criminal mischief, assault with bodily injury and assault of a public servant. His bail was set at $33,000.

On Jan. 14, Dawes grabbed a female employee at the Round Rock Walmart at 2701 South Interstate 35, an affidavit said. Dawes swung the employee in a circle, threw her into an aisle and then onto the ground, the affidavit said. The employee was taken to the emergency room with a swollen left eye, a bruised hand, a swollen wrist and a knot on her head, the affidavit said. Complete article

Woman charged with shoplifting at NH Walmart 01/22/2014

Bicycle stolen from Columbia Md. Walmart 01/2/2014

Hueytown Al. Walmart evacuated after man hand delivers bomb threat 01/23/2014

Police: Man ‘usually wearing Steelers jacket’ robs several Pa. Walmarts (Surveillance Photos) 01/23/2014

GCPD: Suspects tried to use stolen credit card at SC Walmart 01/23/2014

2 wanted for stealing cell phones from Smyrna Tenn. Walmart 01/23/2014

Woman arrested after Ill. Walmart retail theft 01/23/2014

Suspects in bank robbery at Bessemer and Hueytown Al. Walmart bomb threat captured 01/24/2014

Chesapeake Va. police searching for man who tried to steal meat from Walmart 01/24/2014

Man shot in parking lot of Walmart on Skibo Road, Fayetteville NC police say 01/22/2014

Fayetteville NC police identify man shot at Walmart on Skibo Road 01/24/2014

Police have identified the man shot in the parking lot of Walmart on Skibo Road earlier this week.

Raeshean Calhoun, 25, was shot in the hip about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Fayetteville police said.

Calhoun was taken to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center for treatment. He was not listed as a patient in the hospital Friday night.

Police have not named any suspects and are continuing to investigate, said Lt. Todd Joyce, spokesman with the Fayetteville Police Department.

"At this point in the investigation, detectives have information that this might be in relation to the exchange of narcotics," he said.

Walmart on Skibo Road has had problems with crime before. In March 2011, it ceased operating 24 hours a day following a violent robbery and a shooting.

At the time, Fayetteville police reported that Walmart had four times the calls for service as the city's other two Walmarts. Complete article

Maine man accused of shoplifting from NH Walmart 01/24/2014

Neptune NJ Walmart evacuated after fire report 01/25/2014

Man tried to use counterfeit hundreds at Walmart, Calhoun, Ga., police say 01/27/2014

Police seek 2 women who ran Missouri Walmart gift card scam 01/27/2014

Body found near Wagoner Ok. Walmart 01/27/2014

Armed robbery at Walmart in Bethlehem Township Pa.; suspect possibly wore fake dreadlocks 01/27/2014

Two women beat up Walmart guard to steal DVDs, Charleston SC police say 01/27/2014

Employee admits embezzling from Va. Walmart 01/25/2014

China Keeps Pressure On Wal-Mart, Wal-Mart Pushes Back 01/24/2014

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT) on Friday pushed back against criticism from China state media arm China Central Television (CCTV) that it violates permit procedures to boost profits.

CCTV on Thursday accused Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer by sales, of circumventing quality, trade and food-manufacturing permit procedures and working with unlicensed vendors since 2006. The broadcaster claimed that more than 200 company documents show that managers signed off on more than 600 unlicensed products.

In a statement Friday, Wal-Mart said it accelerates approvals only for existing suppliers and on a limited basis. As an example, Wal-Mart mentioned cases where only the size of the container changed. ....

In 2011, Chinese officials accused Wal-Mart of mislabeling regular pork as more-expensive organic pork. The government temporarily closed 13 Wal-Mart stores, arrested two employees, detained 35 other employees, and fined the company 3.65 million yuan, or $602,730. Since then, Wal-Mart has changed its food-safety system across China and pledged to invest 100 million yuan ($16.5 milllion) over three years to strengthen food-safety management in its China stores. Complete article

Police investigate theft from Rouzerville Paq. Walmart 01/27/2014

Stolen trailer found at Missouri Walmart 01/27/2014

Bomb threat shuts down Skowhegan Me. Walmart 01/28/2014

Thieves Steal Phones From Blair Nebraska Wal-Mart 01/28/2014

Post Falls Police Need Your Help Identifying Idaho Walmart Burglary Suspects 01/28/2014

Gunmen storm Walmart in northwest Harris County, Tx., rob safe and registers 01/28/2014

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — An armed suspect stormed a Spring-area Walmart and terrorized employees late Tuesday.

It happened just before midnight at the store on FM 2920 at Kuykendahl Road.

The robber came in dressed like a Walmart worker with some extra accessories.

"According to witnesses, he was wearing a wig, sunglasses in the middle of the night and he had some type of lip balm or gloss," said Sgt. M. Alvarado with the Harris County Robbery division.

Surveillance video shows him walking around the store.

Investigators believe the robber may be a current or former employee because he had inside information that only workers would know. He used an intercom to announce a special code, signaling a worker to go to the front of the store and collect the cash. Complete article

Pair arrested for shoplifting at NH Walmart 01/29/2014

Two found shot to death in Walmart parking lot on Old Fort Parkway Tenn. 01/30/2014

MURFREESBORO — Police have identified the two men found shot to death in a Murfreesboro Walmart parking lot late Wednesday. The victims are Latre R. Lillard and Andre D. Chesterfield, both 19, Murfreesboro Police spokesman Sgt. Clyde Adkison said. The two men were cousins. Chesterfield is a former running back and safety for Oakland High School’s football team. He graduated in 2012, his former coach Thomas McDaniel said. Complete article

Victims ID'd after two bodies found in Tenn. Walmart parking lot 01/30/2014

Police release 911 calls of Tempe Ariz. Walmart parking lot crashes 01/30/2014

Bemidji Minn. man accused of soliciting prostitution at Walmart 01/30/2014

Man wanted for stealing laptops from Va. Walmart 01/30/2014

Walmart robbery suspects arrested in Clay County Fla. 01/31/2014

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. -- The Clay County Sheriff's Office said a tip from the public led to the arrest of two suspects accused of robbing two Wal-Mart stores.

On January 14 Dennis Holcomb, 31, and 40-year-old Michael Robinson allegedly stole three remote control helicopters from a Wal-Mart in Fleming Island.

After attempting to leave the store through the garden department, the suspects were approached by a loss prevention officer in reference to the stolen merchandise.

Once the loss prevention officer identified himself, he was allegedly pushed by Robinson who also pulled out a pistol, according to a release from the CCSO. The loss prevention officer retreated and informed everyone that the suspect had a gun. Complete article

Ex-Walmart employee accused of taking money from cash register in Ind. 01/30/2014

Wal-Mart Not Going After SC Man Who Took Bread, Milk 01/29/2014

Oneida NY City Police seek help identifying three involved in Walmart theft 01/30/2014

Gainesville Fla. man huffs air in Wal-Mart, police say 01/31/2014

Norwalk Ohio robber arrested in Walmart parking lot 01/30/2014 "Two bystanders in the parking lot intervened to help apprehend the subject. An unidentified female tripped the subject, causing him to lose a shoe briefly and a male subject in the parking lot grabbed (O'Neil) and held onto him until police arrived.

Watchung NJ Police -- 3 men charged with shoplifting baby formula from Walmart 01/31/2014

Florence Ala. man linked to Walmart thefts in 5 states 01/31/2014 Police said they believe Timbes took more than $50,000 over the course of the last three years.

Man admits multiple Nev. Walmart burglaries 01/31/2014

Man accused of stealing car batteries from NC Walmart 01/30/2014

Wanted sex offender caught shoplifting at Tx. Walmart 01/30/2014

Trio Allegedly Stole $24K Worth Of Items, Maybe More, From NY Walmart 01/3/2014

Police: Man stole 1 TV from Port St. Lucie Fla. Wal-Mart, came back for 2 more 01/31/2014

Missouri man found guilty of plotting attacks at theater, Walmart 01/31/2014

Competency hearing granted for suspect in Tx. Walmart hatchet attack 01/31/2014

Man charged with pulling knife at Fla. Wal-Mart 01/31/2014

Witnesses Describe Scene Inside Walmart Shooting 02/02/2014 "Myron Terrel is the suspect," Woodruff said. "He's 29 years old was an employee of Walmart."

Soros, Wal-Mart scion pony up for Clinton 01/31/2014

Wal-Mart’s McMillon Ascends With Troubles at Home, Abroad 01/31/2014

This Walmart worker went from temp to store manager. Here’s why that’s so tough. 01/31/2014

Walmart: Victim Of A Partisan National Labor Relations Board 01/31/2014

CNN exclusive: Obama says Walmart, Apple, others to help jobless 01/30/2014

Wal-Mart: Food stamp cuts to hit profits 01/31/2014

Walmart expects lower earnings for Q4 01/31/2014

Forbes: Walmart's Manufacturing Dream is Just a Dream 01/31/2014

Walmart funds active-shooter training for fire department 01/29/2014

BENTONVILLE, Ark. —Walmart is giving the Bentonville Fire Department a grant worth $97,000 to fund active-shooter training.

“This will give us an opportunity to have a change in real action,” said Bentonville Police Chief Jon Simpson.

The grant isn’t the first Walmart has given to a fire department.

“If something does happen, as terrible as that will be, that our emergency responders will be doing their best to help me, my family, my neighbors and the community,” said Ken Senser, of Walmart. Complete article

Forbes: Corporate Culture And The ’Future Former Employee’ Test: Are You Starbucks Or Target, Walmart Or Costco? 01/29/2014

Ind. Walmart workers protest freezing work conditions 01/29/2014

Obama hails higher-paying Costco as an anti-Walmart in minimum wage debate: Effective? 01/29/2014

Walmart’s War on Blacks 01/20/2014

Walmart crashes in Mexico 01/28/2014

The U.S. giant Walmart closed the year 2013 in Mexico with the worst turnover in the last fifteen years. The company billed U.S. $27,317,000 (20.196 million Euro) in the Mexican country, 1.3% less than in 2012.

The U.S. multinational registered declines in sales in Mexico over nine months in 2013. September was the worst month, as they had a 4.7% decrease in turnover.

Analysts attribute this decline to the scandal that erupted in 2012 when Mexico Walmart was accused of paying bribes to officials in order to accelerate the opening of their stores. Complete article

Leaked documents show how Walmart combats labor protests 01/15/2014 second document on Our Wal-Mart

Read the Leaked Documents That Walmart Doesn't Want You to See 01/20/2014

On Black Friday 2012, Walmart employees around the country came together to protest low wages and poor working conditions, sparking a bitter war of words between Walmart management and OUR Walmart, a nonprofit organization that advocates for worker's interests. Now the conflict has again been thrust into the spotlight.

Last week, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the independent government entity tasked with enforcing labor law, issued a complaint against Walmart alleging that during these and subsequent protests, Walmart management violated labor law by punishing and threatening to punish employees engaged in protected legal activity. As an NLRB decision is poised to shame and punish Walmart over the alleged abuses, a slew of recently-leaked internal documents showcase Walmart's anti-union tactics.

The NLRB's complaint details potential violations in 13 states, where Walmart illegally fired, disciplined or threatened over 60 of its employees. If the widespread abuses were not evidence enough of a concerted and illegal anti-union strategy at Walmart, the complaint also cites public statements by high corporate officials as among the threats meant to intimidate workers from expressing their rights.

In an interview with CBS ahead of the 2012 protests, Walmart spokesman David Tovar stated, "If associates are scheduled to work on Black Friday, we expect them to show up and to do their job, and if they don't, depending on the circumstances, there could be consequences." Federal law protects workers who are striking over unfair labor practices from just those kinds of "consequences."

If you need more evidence that Walmart's anti-labor tactics go against the letter and the spirit of the law, just look at their leaked internal documents, where they outline tactics that allow managers to both monitor and intimidate pro-union sentiment. For example, although the law prevents Walmart from directly inquiring as to an employee's union activity, one internal memo encourages a managerial tactic known as Coaching By Walking Around (CBWA). Complete article

Walmart has 'negative effect on communities' 01/27/2014

GREEN BAY — It’s a fact, according to the business expert Steven Kirn, that in the big box retail industry, “Walmart is often referred to as the Death Star.” He says it’s because of “the feeling” that Walmart will destroy local businesses.

According to numerous reputable studies, it is more than a “feeling.” Recent studies from New York, Chicago and California show that “Walmart’s entry into a market has a strongly negative effect on communities.” In 2008, one neighborhood in Chicago, lost 82 of 300 businesses within 18 months.

This scenario has played out across the U.S.

Walmart spends a lot of money advertising low prices, but a reality check from Consumer Reports in 2010, which included more than 30,000 readers, placed Walmart 10th out of 11 big box stores. Complete article

Factory for Wal-Mart, JCPenney Goods Shortchanged Guatemalan Workers, Report Says 01/23/2014

Guatemalan factory workers making blazers and suits for dozens of well-known American retailers, including Wal-Mart, JCPenney, and Kohl's, were allegedly deprived of more than $6 million in wages and benefits when their employer abruptly shut down the business last year, according to a report published today.

"These workers got robbed, completely," said Charles Kernaghan, director of the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights, which produced the 50-page report on the Alianza factory. "Violations take place in other factories – but in this case the workers were able to document what they were legally owed. That's unprecedented."

Investigators with a Guatemalan workers' rights organization obtained a trove of rarely-seen internal factory records, including paystubs, rate sheets, and design specifications from a range of well-known American clothing brands. Twelve years of records for nearly 1,500 employees were used to document what Kernaghan says was an attempt to prevent workers from collecting overtime pay, health care benefits and pensions.

While more than 1,200 workers sewed garments in the factory in a typical year, the company only submitted applications for 65 workers per year to receive benefits, the report said. The 548 workers who were employed when Alianza closed last year had already worked an average of 4.5 years without benefits, and were owed an average of $2,069, investigators found. Complete article

Corruption and Greed: Alianza Fashion Sweatshop in Guatemala

Wal-Mart Stores to close chain's only Más Club in Houston Tx. 01/27/2014

Wal-Mart Cuts 2,500 Jobs at Sam’s Club to Streamline Management 01/25/2014 Wal-Mart shares fell 0.7 percent to $74.42 at the close in New York yesterday. The stock has gained 6.6 percent in the past 12 months compared with a 20 percent advance for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

Wal-Mart Rebuts Critical Report on Inspection Practices in China 01/24/2014

This is how Wal-Mart is bringing jobs back to the U.S. 01/24/2014

In pursuit of hurting public schools, Walton family funds far-right school operator 01/23/2014

Chinese state TV criticizes Wal-Mart's quality control 01/24/2014

HONG KONG (Reuters) - A state-owned Chinese TV station which has run a string of stories criticizing foreign firms has accused U.S. retailer Wal-Mart (WMT) of circumventing its quality control process and fast-tracking some products with higher profit margins.

The report by China Central Television (CCTV) was based on an interview with an anonymous former Wal-Mart employee and cited more than 200 documents dating from 2006 that referenced a "special approval process" and mentioned alcohol suppliers that did not have production permits. Complete article

Wal-Mart to inspect Bangladesh factories, release results 01/2/2014

Wal-Mart to Launch $10M Innovation Fund for U.S. Manufacturing 01/23/2014

Davos Stalked by Tech Disruption as Intel to Wal-Mart Tested 01/23/2014

Target Joins Home Depot, Walmart, Others In Cutting Health Care For Part-Timers, Citing Obamacare 01/22/2014

Neighboring businesses need not fear Wisc. Walmart, business expert says 01/21/2014 Have I heard that one before?

Man Who Met Khaki-Purchasing Jim Harbaugh Describes Walmart Encounter 01/16/2014

Coalition of Fla. Immokalee Workers announces Walmart has joined Fair Food Program 01/16/2014

Leaked PowerPoint Reveals Walmart's Anti-Union Strategy 01/15/2014

Walmart is pushing back against labor groups by providing managers with talking points to discourage workers from joining up, internal documents reveal.

Internet activist group Anonymous leaked a set of Walmart PowerPoints instructing managers to remind workers that union-backed groups like OURWalmart aren’t trying to help them -- they’re just looking to take their money.

From the PowerPoint posted on Complete article This document indicates that they consider it a warning sign if anyone asks for a witness to be present among other things.

Feds charge Wal-Mart with labor violations 01/15/2014

Ca. Walmart tax-sharing deal might be revived 01/12/2014 Attorney Dave Ferguson said Thursday his clients want to remove a 10-mile “noncompete” clause that was part of the original deal and make other changes.

Walmart estimates Larsen Green Wisc. cleanup could cost $1.8 million 01/11/2014

A new Oregon WalMart is unwise, unsafe 01/10/2014

Walmart reopened on Rosedale Highway Ca. after server error 01/09/2014

Alaska Goes On Charm Offensive Against Wal-Mart Over Salmon Dispute 01/09/2014

Wal-Mart hired Porter Gordon on NDAA safety provisions — Vaca returns to lobbying on the Hill — MWW hires Romano — PCPC promotes Powers 01/07/2014

WAL-MART HIRED PORTER GORDON ON NDAA SAFETY PROVISIONS: Retail giant Wal-Mart hired Porter Gordon Silver Communications to work on successfully stripping a provision of the National Defense Authorization Act in December, according to public disclosures released Tuesday. Several members of Congress had championed a worker-safety provision in the annual defense spending bill that would have given procurement priority to companies that signed onto a legally binding Bangladesh workers' safety agreement called the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety. Retailers like Wal-Mart and Gap have declined to sign on, and Wal-Mart unveiled its own nonbinding safety plan in May of last year for workers at its Bangladeshi factories. In practice, the provision would have cost Wal-Mart and other retailers not part of the accord a good deal of money — as their products would have suffered at retail stores on military bases as a result of procurement priority given to Accord members. The provision was included in the House version of the NDAA, but was absent from the final bill signed by President Barack Obama in late December. Bob Cochran, former chief of staff to Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon, is listed on the account. The Huffington Post has a longer piece on the issue here: Complete article

The Hidden Ecosystem Of The Walmart Parking Lot 01/03/2014

Walmart asked by Nalcor to turn down lights 01/06/2014

Legal challenges to Ca. Walmart troublesome? 01/01/2014 We are not sure just exactly who or what California Healthy Community Network is, but the last we looked they are not in Porterville and don’t have any Porterville followers. All I had to do was Google it to find out who the California Healthy Community Network is.

Wal-Mart Recalls Tainted Donkey Meat in China 01/02/2014

Walmart recalls card table and chair sets after reports of finger amputations 01/04/2014