Yesterday, we made an arrest for theft at Home Depot. The call came in as a theft in progress with an accomplice waiting outside in the get-away car. Based on this information we stationed ourselves at various places around the building. When the thief exited the store we swooped in with several marked and unmarked police cars, lights flashing. Apparently it was quite a show because many Home Depot customers stopped to watch. I’m sure social media was a buzz shortly after.
I mention this because I’ve heard it said many times crime is a problem at the Commons and it couldn’t be further from the truth. We have thefts at the Commons. Period! We have no reports of any type of violent crime. None! We have no assaults or any other type of issues. I can’t even remember the last stolen car we had there. It has literally been that long. We have petty thefts just as any other shopping center would have. But we have something other shopping centers don’t have that might give the impression that we have more crime than they do.
Several years ago Macedonia Council passed legislation that mandated stores employ Loss Prevention Officers or LPO’s. Basically, the ordinance required a preset number of loss prevention hours based on the stores square footage. The larger the store the more loss prevention hours required. What many people don’t understand is these big retailers allot a certain number of LPO’s per district. These LPO’s are assigned based on a store shrinkage (theft) and disturbance rating. So a district manager would look at the 20 or 30 stores in his/her district and assign LPO’s to approx half of them. Our stores didn’t qualify for LPO’s until the City passed the ordinance forcing the retailers to maintain LPO’s at our stores. (Walmart had LPO’s in place before the ordinance). This is one reason why people see or read about numerous THEFT arrests at the Commons. The simple fact is, the retailers at the Commons do a better job than most shopping centers at catching thieves thereby giving the impression of more crime.
There are several more reasons why I believe people think crime is an issue at the Commons. One reason is social media. Social media plays a big role. Every incident gets spread thru the various social sites and usually gets over exaggerated. It always amazes me how, in just a few days, one small incident turns into a double homicide. I’m exaggeration a little but not much! I can’t tell you how often someone approaches me and ask for details on some “major incident” that happened at the Commons and I have to explain the real, less exciting facts.
I think another reason people are misinformed about the Commons is location. Some people say they go to other cities to shop because they don’t hear these areas have the same “problems” the Commons has. Maybe people don’t hear about issues at these other shopping centers because they don’t read their local paper and these areas don’t come up in their everyday conversations with neighbors and friends.
Lastly, the police department patrols the Commons heavily to make sure we provide a safe environment for all who visit the Commons and to send a message to criminals that we have a constant presence there and they are not welcome. Maybe the heavy police presence misleads some people.
I can’t end this post without talking about Walmart. Walmart seems to be the source for much of the misinformation regarding the Commons. Walmart, unlike other stores in the Commons has several things going against it. First, its open 24/7. Sometimes there’s a different type of person that’s out late at night as opposed to someone you might see in the middle of the day. It doesn’t mean they are better or worse just different. Second, Walmart is a discount department store. Its not Saks or Nordstrom. Even though people of all social status shop there many people who aren’t as fortunate rely on Walmart’s prices to make ends meat. These folks bother some people. Third, criminals think they can get away with stealing at Walmart because its a very large store that has a wide variety of goods. Little do they know Walmart has over 300 cameras inside and around the clock LPO’s.
Several months ago Walmart made a few changes most people aren’t aware of. They made our store the location the district manager works out of and they brought in a new store manager, Ariko Jackson. Ariko has done a nice job cleaning up the store and making some changes. In addition, Walmart will be doing a major remodeling update from late summer thru fall. If you haven’t been inside lately stop in and give them another chance to earn your business. If you have concerns please speak with Ariko. He’s interested in your comments.
I’m hoping this clarifies some of the issues people have with Macedonia Commons. I’m sure there will be some comments about trouble at the Commons but unless people report them the police department and stores can’t address them.