Walmart is a prominent retail business in the United States, with its sales exceeding USD1 trillion. But the truth is, the more it could earn, the more it could lose as well. The reason is, throughout the years, Walmart has suffered substantial financial damage due to accumulating shoplifting. These simple inefficiencies have increased significantly with the introduction of self-checkout systems. With its exponential growth, the business is subjected to many theft incidents. So, let’s learn the ways Walmart keeps track and build cases on shoplifting.
For a more in-depth answer, let’s look at our article on Walmart’s shoplifting policy provided here!
In 2022, Walmart controls shop stealing by employing Loss Prevention Associates, security cameras, and alarm activation at the entrances. On top of that, Walmart also utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) to detect whether any product is not recorded before the shoppers take it out.
A Loss Prevention Associate identifies and mitigates theft in retail establishments. They often wander around the shop, looking for any unusual activity while blending in with the other shoppers. They usually dress in casual street clothing; therefore, other people or shoplifters will not be able to notice them. When shoplifters leave the store, they will be caught. Loss prevention associates are also responsible for submitting statements on shoplifting cases and developing anti-theft tactics.
Walmart uses Radio-frequency identification, also known as RFID tags to activate security alarms. Although it is not new, RFID tags can be found in every item sold at a shop. Because of the magnetic field of RFID tags, once a theft goes through the security sensors, they will cause the alarm to alert. If you didn’t know, Walmart is the first retailer to use RFID tags.
Typically, they are tucked away behind the barcode scanners or next. This makes the self-checkout system or shop controllers quickly scan the label and disable it. Once the items are checked, you can stroll through the security sensors, and the security alarm won’t spark.
Due to excessive stealing cases, Walmart incurs significant financial harm annually. As a result, Walmart currently adopts image recognition tech to prevent theft at self-service checkouts. This artificial intelligence technology could help Walmart track the stealing case to another level. These cameras are strategically positioned between the cashier and self-service checkout in over a thousand locations to identify theft behavior.
The cameras follow objects rather than people, and they can spot them once the product has been taken out before checking. If the software recognizes abnormal activity, it will notify the staff that a specific item is taken out without proper authorization. Walmart also utilizes intercom codes to tell stolen items and spot in-store stealing.
Anyone caught stealing will be prosecuted as soon as possible by Walmart. Once seen, you would be labeled a criminal charge, making it problematic to obtain work. For a worse scenario, you might spend up to 12 months in prison if you steal anything worth a significant amount of money.
In the case of a minor theft under the age of 16, you will be requested to return the products and be taken home by either your parents or the police. Also, you will not be charged with anything. If you are older than 16 and caught stealing from Walmart for the first time, you are unlikely to face criminal charges. However, you may still be charged with infringement, which will stay in your background for the rest of your life. In addition, you will be barred from accessing any Walmart Store in the foreseeable future.
If you are found stealing at another Walmart store again, you might be jailed, fined, or probation. But, on a second, third, fourth, or fifth time, the repercussions are frequently far more severe, and you could be charged with a crime rather than pathetic wrongdoing.
Indeed, Walmart does report shoplifting to the authorities. If the surveillance camera offers evidence of you stealing, staff will notify the police, so you will almost certainly be arrested for shoplifting. Moreover, if Walmart employees see someone attempting to steal things from the dock, they have the privilege to contact the authorities.
In contrast, if you are sure you have been wrongfully custodied of shoplifting, don’t panic and talk to the police as soon as possible. Inquire with the police about the store’s safeguarding. If it doesn’t work out, you might need to seek a lawyer to represent you. If you are confident that you are clean, you should not be required to sign anything at any point.
Anyone convicted of stealing from Walmart faces a lifelong ban from the store. It is unlikely that this restriction will be removed, and if you still resist entering a Walmart after obtaining this prohibition, even if it is not the Walmart from which you stole, you may receive a charge with a felony.
Walmart takes the issue of theft seriously, and a significant portion of its financial management is allocated to inventory control. If you take anything out uninformed from Walmart, you will almost certainly be caught, and the store may not dismiss charges against you. You might end up with a criminal record and a lifelong suspension from any Walmart shop if you do not behave properly.
Under the law, Walmart has two years to press charges against shoplifters. However, depending on certain circumstances, it might take days, weeks, or even months for a retailer to pursue shoplifting charges. This implies that you may be found guilty after you did months ago. Yet, the truth is, Walmart takes less than two months to proceed with this charge.
As of 2022, Walmart will file criminal charges against shoplifters for any item worth over $25. In addition, Walmart employs Loss Prevention Associates trained to identify and characterize shoplifters. Believe it or not, Walmart never removes footage captured by security cameras, and all transaction records are reviewed and documented to build cases against shoplifters if the evidence is sufficient.
Walmart usually does not pursue legal action against or arrest people who have been detected stealing things for less than $25. However, if it is the case, they will be advised to give back the items and leave the shop immediately.
Nevertheless, if the item you take could be worth up to $2k, you will be charged against the crime, the most severe kind of stealing. Consequently, the culprit might face between 1 and 5 years in prison, as well as a fine of up to $2.5k and no more than 12 months in jail. Furthermore, any product valued at more than $2k is considered a class 5 crime; the suspect could be jailed for ten years.
If you are caught shoplifting at Walmart, your arrest will be documented in the company’s records for future reference. In addition, Walmart maintains meticulous records of all incidents that occur in their shops, and they can check to see whether shoplifters have been charged with theft in the past at Walmart. Likewise, Walmart stores photographs of shoplifters and Loss Prevention Associates are aware of which customers have stolen from them in the last time.
Walmart has no obligation to share any video evidence of you stealing from their store. If Walmart decides to file custody, they will report the videotape to the police as evidence, but they are not required to provide it to the shoplifters themselves. Therefore, if you want to watch the footage, you will need to hire a legal representative.
In 2022, Walmart will retain security CCTV video between 6 months to 1 year; however, the length of time may vary depending on the size and site of the shop. For example, the withholding term for surveillance video at smaller Walmart shops may only be 30 and 90 days.
You must have a legitimate cause for requesting surveillance camera video at Walmart, such as thinking your items were stolen at Walmart, or you may have met in-store misconduct. If this is the case, it may be beneficial to note the time, date, and place of the occurrence inside the business to make it easier to navigate through the camera video.
Then you may go to the Walmart shop where the event took place and talk with a Walmart store supervisor, who will help you further. Another option, the police will be allowed to examine the surveillance video on your behalf if you decide you want to make a complaint on something.
Walmart works relentlessly to limit the loophole that has on their annual revenues. To do this, they use a variety of strategies to guarantee that shoplifters are seized, traced, and built cases. But unfortunately, shoplifters have a minimal opportunity to avoid their crime because of the adoption of loss prevention associates, security cameras inside and outside the shops, scanners, and image recognition technology.