Will Walmart’s ‘restorative justice’ reduce shoplifting?
Walmart has faced criticism from some in the law enforcement community who believe that factors such as a lack of sales associates on store floors are leading to higher incidences of crime at the retailer’s locations. Some have questioned whether Walmart’s management and board are willing to incur the added labor costs necessary to deter shoplifters. While the chain has not publicly committed to adding large numbers of permanent workers to its labor force, it has come up with a new program that it believes will make thieves think twice about stealing from its stores.
According to The Joplin Globe, Walmart has a new program called “restorative education” that aims to dissuade those caught shoplifting for the first time from becoming repeat offenders. Under the program, individuals with no criminal record who are caught stealing from Walmart are given the option of paying $400 and taking an online course instead of being turned over to the police. If they can’t pay the $400, they are given the option of taking the course and paying $500 in four payments. Failure to complete the course or pay will result in Walmart pressing charges against the shoplifter.
Walmart told the paper that it instituted the program in Joplin, MO after running successful pilots in other locations. The local police department filed 512 reports in 2015 for the local store.
“We made a decision that if the overall goal is for us to try and reduce calls to police, the Restorative Justice Program allows us to not call the police at all and process the offender right on the spot,” Brian Nick, senior director for corporate affairs at Walmart, told the Globe. “(The program) has become more robust in the last month, and since the beginning of the summer, we’ve added hundreds of stores. It’s been a steady pace. The trend is continuing into additional markets.”
- Wal-Mart takes its own approach to shoplifting – The Joplin Globe
- Walmart’s “Restorative Justice” Program For Shoplifters – Business Ethics Highlights
- Low Prices, High Crime: Inside Walmart’s Plan to Crack Down on Shoplifting – Time
- Is Walmart passing its crime buck to local governments? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you think Walmart’s “restorative education” program will make a significant dent in shoplifting attempts and apprehensions that take place in its stores? Is this the most effective way for Walmart to reduce crime levels at its locations across the U.S.?