There’s been a lot of talk about police activity at Walmart lately, so we wanted to share some statistics with you that might help give context to the discussion.
Calls for service are not limited to 911 calls by citizens but can be initiated by an officer.
Calls for service do not always require a response by an on-duty officer.
3% of all calls for service for the entire city in 2017 occurred at Walmart.
20% of all reported Part I property crimes for the entire city in 2017 occurred at Walmart.
From January 1st to December 31st, 2017, there were 737 calls for service (CFS) to Walmart at 10300 E 350 Hwy. This does not include EMS or other public agencies, only the Raytown Police Department. A CFS is simply an event that requires some type of police response. It can be created by a 911 or non-emergency call from a citizen or an officer can self-initiate an event, like a traffic stop. A CFS does not always mean that criminal activity is occurring. We respond to lots of things that aren’t necessarily criminal in nature, such as medical emergencies, mental health crises, or missing persons.
For Walmart specifically, the majority of the CFS at that location are generated by an off-duty officer because someone has been apprehended for shoplifting (or other criminal activity such as trespassing), but sometimes it’s for situations as simple as a child separated from their parents. There are several reasons why they create a CFS:
First, for officer safety reasons; creating a CFS lets the other officers and dispatchers know that the off-duty officer has a suspected shoplifter stopped, so they can assist if the person starts resisting arrest.
Secondly, our computer system cannot generate a report number without an associated CFS. So in order to document that shoplifting incident on a report, the off-duty officer needs a CFS so they in turn can get the report number. Many of these CFS are handled by the off-duty officer, but at times on-duty officers are called to assist.
737 calls is roughly 3% of the total for the entire city for the 2017 calendar year. 10% of all incident reports (365 of 3493 total) and 18% of all custodial arrests (321 of 1767 total) in 2017 came from Walmart. Again, the majority of these incidents were thefts. However, theft of any amount must be reported to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting program as a larceny and counts against our Part I crime statistics. 20% of all reported 2017 Part I property crime (burglary, larceny, auto theft, or arson) for the entire city occurred at Walmart.
An important thing to keep in mind is that crime cannot happen in a vacuum. In order for a crime to occur, there MUST be an offender and a target (either a person or a thing) at the same location at the same time. Therefore, anywhere there is a large congregation of targets (again, people and/or things), crime will naturally follow. Think about all the people, objects, and cars at a place like Walmart. The same is true for places like department stores, strip malls, and apartment complexes or anywhere were there are large concentrations of people and things. While we don’t have any information on how active the Raytown Walmart is compared to other Walmart locations, we do know there have been numerous discussions in the media nationwide about police resources at these stores. This situation is not unique just to Raytown nor Walmart itself.
We’ll be doing a follow up post that explains more about officers working off-duty at several locations in Raytown, including Walmart, so be sure to follow us on social media so you don’t miss out.
Chief Jim Lynch