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2000-06-27
Oxnard, CA. Crime in Wal-Mart Parking Lots

In January of 1998, if you had entered the Wal-Mart in Oxnard, California, you would have been under the watchful eye of no less than 204 security cameras, plus four security guards. But once you stepped out into the parking lot, your security was entirely in your own hands. That's what happened to Laura Tanaka, a hapless shopper at Wal-Mart. Tanaka went to Wal-Mart on January 9th of 1998, and parked her car just four spaces from the entrance to Wal-Mart. She was attacked in the Wal-Mart parking lot at roughly 10:40 pm by two men. Tanaka was kidnapped, robbed, and threatened at gunpoint, asked to unbutton her blouse, and was abandoned in an isolated area, whiile her two assailants drove off in her car. What Tanaka had no way of knowing is that the Oxnard Wal-Mart store had received no less than 933 calls for police service over the past two years. According to the Ventura County Star, many of those calls involved shoplifting and fraud, but more serious crimes of 31 stolen cars, dozens of assaults, narcotics, suspicious vehicles, and fights. In the two year period, 3 kidnappings occurred. The day that Tanaka was kidnapped, a similar kidnapping and carjacking had occurred earlier the same day. The two men who kidnapped Tanaka were eventually charged and convicted of the crime, but Tanaka also sued Wal-Mart for playing a role in the kidnapping. A jury in Ventury County, California sided with Tanaka, and awarded her $571,777 in damages for lost wages, medical costs, and the loss of property. Tanaka's attorney, Gary Dordick, told reporters that "Wal-Mart should have put as much resources and energy into the safety of their custoemrs as they do to protect their own profits and property." After the Tanaka kidnapping, Wal-Mart added a roving security guard, brighter lights, and exterior cameras mounted on the stores -- a now familiar sight at a Wal-Mart it you look closely at their roofline. "We have placed additional safety measures at this particular store," a Wal-Mart spokesperson told the County Star, "and will continue to take the necessary steps to ensure our customer's safety." The jury found Wal-Mart guilty of negligence, and all of the "ensuring" in the world has come to late for Laura Tanaka.

What you can do: In 1993 Wal-Mart conducted a study of crime in their parking lots. That study has never been made public, despite several attempts in court to have it published during the discovery process. See the newsflash stories below about the "discovery sanctions" that were imposed against Wal-Mart in Texas for witholding this crucial study of crime at Wal-Mart. The Oxnard crime statisitics reveal that the police are out at Wal-Mart approximately 1.3 times every day of the year. Everyday low prices, and everyday crime...










 
 
"Norman has become the guru of the anti-Wal-Mart movement" ~ 60 Minutes

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