Yahoo!: Why retail centers are hotspots for violent crime

UC's retail crime expert Karl Langhorst cited as expert on recent retail crime wave

Retail spaces are designed to be open and welcoming environments for clientele across all spectrums. This can also what makes them more opportunistic targets for violence.

“It is no secret that criminal activity at retailers as has jumped significantly over the last few years,” Karl Langhorst, an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati’s School of Criminal Justice and an expert on retail loss prevention and corporate security told Footwear News. “And unfortunately, we’re seeing a trend that those incidents are becoming more and more violent,” he said.

Stated in the article, which was syndicated to Yahoo News, the world’s largest retailer, Walmart was the top grocery location for gun violence incidents between January 1, 2020 and May 14, with 310 incidents and 89 deaths, Guns Down America found. With over 5,000 retail locations in the U.S. stores, 90% of Americans live within 10 miles of a Walmart store, making it more accessible — and susceptible to violence — than many other chains.

Given the trend, it is crucial for retailers to maintain ongoing relationships with local law enforcement to discuss safety and preventative measures to curb violence, Langhorst explained. Additionally, many retailers have rolled out active shooter training across their staff.

“They have to have continual discussion with them and talk about crime trends, Langhorst said. “It’s also about trying to train employees to recognize when there could be a potential conflict (in) new stores.”

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Featured photo at top courtesy of Unsplash.  

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