Wal-Marts Can Produce Rural Crime Centers

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After a 24-hour Wal-Mart store opened in a formerly rural area near Harrisville, Utah, in 2001, police have had to confront big-city realities in the town of 4,000 about 45 miles north of Salt Lake City, says the Associated Press. In January, when an officer shot and wounded a man who pointed a fake gun at him in the store. In three years, calls to Harrisville police jumped by a third. The department increased its force from four to six, and the court schedule was extended to allow the city prosecutor time to negotiate pleas.

Wal-Mart’s vast parking lot, where more than half the investigations for driving under the influence originate, is patrolled overnight. Drug DUI arrests outnumber those involving alcohol more than 2 to 1. Before Wal-Mart opened, the local police chief asked neighboring police what to expect. “They laughed at me,” he recalled. A judge from another town asked him: “Have you been Wal-Mart-ized yet?” before recounting his courtroom’s being “inundated” by crimes originating at the store.

Link: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-adna-walmart30may30,1,4079673.story?coll=la-headlin

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