A Critical Review of: Crime and Wal-Mart- “Is Wal-Mart Safe?”
Read Hayes, PhD, CPP
Loss Prevention Research Council, and
Loss Prevention Research Team, University of Florida
Good research often generates more questions than it answers. But so does poor research. A review of the May 1, 2006 white paper Crime and Wal-Mart- “Is Wal-Mart Safe?”: An Analysis of Official Police Incidents at Wal-Mart Stores raises many questions about the motives, methods and conclusions of its unnamed authors due to serious and avoidable flaws.
The Wal-Mart paper starts out in part headlined “…An Analysis of Official Police Incidents at Wal-Mart Stores,” possibly leading readers to look for an analysis of problems with police officers rather than a look at police calls for service on a convenience sampling of Wal-Mart store properties (the study’s authors presumably meant to indicate their paper provided a look at police incident reports rather than police incidents). The problem with the paper’s title is mentioned since it sets the stage for further confusion created by this report as it continues onward. The study authors’ start out the paper’s initial summary with claims there is a growing public debate on crime levels on Wal-Mart properties, as well as a claim that anecdotal news accounts of crimes on Wal-Mart (WM) properties have raised a public concern that WM stores may be a magnet for crime. The study authors do not however provide readers with supporting research literature citations for their claims – thereby immediately reducing the credibility of the study’s basis and thesis.