A recently published study identifies a relationship between higher crime rates and the expansion of Walmart.
Published in the British Journal of Criminology, the study examined crime in counties where the retailer grew, as compared to those where it did not between 1991 and 2009. According to lead author and University of South Carolina assistant professor of criminology and criminal justice Scott Wolfe, the analysis of 3,109 counties revealed that crime fighting efforts were hampered in counties where Walmart spread.
"The crime decline was stunted in counties where Walmart expanded in the 1990s," Wolfe said, adding that "there were 17 additional property crimes and 2 additional violent crimes for every 10,000 persons in a county" where Walmart opened a new location.
Naturally, Walmart lampooned the study. "This is a flawed study that relies on outdated information and fails to present the facts about Walmart's positive impact on communities," spokeswoman Diana Gee told the Huffington Post.
Gee also said that increased crime rates could be tied to the energy Walmart exerts to prevent shoplifting. "It doesn't mean the crime wasn't taking place before. It just means more shoplifters are being caught."
Wolfe even admitted that the study doesn't make any concrete ties between crime and Walmarts, but said that the data used makes it easy to draw that conclusion. Truth be told, it all sounds pretty arbitrary.