Shopping and safety concerns: A closer look at police reports from the shopping centers that include Publix, Walmart stores in east and west Rome.

Shopping and safety concerns: A closer look at police reports from the shopping centers that include Publix, Walmart stores in east and west Rome.

Security cameras sit atop one of the entrances at the East Rome Walmart, 825 Cartersville Highway. Hometown photo.

By Natalie Simms
nsimmshh@att.net

As a follow-up to last week’s Hometown Headlines’ report into security issues and criminal activity at Riverbend Center in Rome — prompted by a customer’s close call in the parking lot (click here) — we’re now looking at reports from three other busy shopping areas since March 2018: Charles Hight Square/Publix, East Rome Walmart and West Rome Walmart.

Publix/Charles Hight Square

The Rome Police Department provided Hometown Headlines with statistics on incidents reported or occurring near Charles Hight Square (Publix) over the last 12 months from March 2018 to present. Click here for entire report.

There were a few traffic incidents; however, there were 49 other incidents at the location including street robbery, kidnapping, shoplifting, criminal trespass and drug violations. Here is a brief summary (note: Larceny report includes theft/shoplifting/theft inside automobile):

  • March 2018: Shoplifting (1); Drug violation (1)
  • April 2018: Shoplifting (2); Making false report/false information (1)
  • May 2018: Larceny (1); Shoplifting (3); Criminal trespass (1); Drug violation (1)
  • June 2018: Shoplifting (1); Criminal trespass (1)
  • July 2018: Shoplifting (2)
  • August 2018: Theft of Automobile (1); Drug violation (1); Shoplifting (2); Obstructing officer (1)
  • Sept. 2018: Reckless conduct (1)
  • Oct. 2018: Larceny (2); Criminal trespass (1)
  • Nov. 2018: Shoplifting (3)
  • Dec. 2018: Shoplifting (3); Criminal trespass (2); Disorderly conduct (1)
  • Jan. 2019: Shoplifting (5); Street robbery (1); Adult kidnapping (1); Theft of automobile (1); Larceny (2); Simple assault (1)
  • Feb. 2019: Drug violation (2); Shoplifting (1); Resisting arrest (1); Obstructing officer (1)

Publix does have a number of security cameras inside the store and at the exterior entrance/exit of the store. Brenda Reid, Media and Community Relations manager for Publix, says they have not noticed an increase in criminal activity at the store that opened in October 2013.

Said Reid: “We pride ourselves on providing a positive shopping experience for our customers at Publix.  We make sure that our stores and parking lots are well lit.  We carry our customers’ groceries to their cars as a courtesy. That is a feature that our customers have grown to appreciate. This can serve a dual role. It allows us to escort our customers to their cars and police the parking lots as we push the carts back into the stores.  We have surveillance cameras on our property.  We hire off duty officers when needed.”

Walmart

Some of the many cameras mounted on light poles in the East Rome Walmart parking lot. Hometown photo.

Both Walmart locations in Rome including East Rome at 825 Cartersville Highway and West Rome at 2510 Redmond Road have a historyl of shoplifting cases; in fact, more than half of all criminal reports over the last 12 months at the stores are for shoplifting.

Debbie Burnett, Assistant Chief with Rome Police, says her department has not seen any significant increase in criminal activity at either location. “Shoplifting is an ongoing issue. Walmart Loss Prevention does a good job identifying shoplifters,” she says.

Walmart has dozens of cameras throughout the store, plus a significant amount outside the store. We counted more than 20 around the exterior of the East Rome Walmart this week, including cameras along the entrance doors, throughout the parking lot and around all sides of the store, including the loading docks.

“The (Walmart) parking lots are patrolled regularly by a sector car. I can’t tell you how often as that depends on the number of calls for service during a particular shift or day, but the lots are part of the officers’ regular service area,” says Burnett.

Hometown Headlines reached out to Walmart management and media relations by phone and email last week for comment on the criminal activity and store security but received no response.

East Rome store: The Rome Police Department provided Hometown Headlines with statistics on incidents reported or occurring near East Rome Walmart over the last 12 months from March 2018 to present. Click here for entire report.

There were a few traffic incidents; however, there were 143 other incidents at the location with over half (80) that were shoplifting or larceny reports; plus reports of assaults, sexual assault and criminal trespass. Here is a brief summary:

  • March 2018: Shoplifting (10); Criminal trespass (3); Harassing phone calls (1); Indecent exposures (1); Larceny (2)
  • April 2018: Shoplifting (7); Drug violation (4); Larceny (2); Contributing to delinquency of minor (1); Criminal trespass (2)
  • May 2018: Larceny (3); Drug violation (4); Shoplifting (5); Criminal trespass (2); Forgery (1)
  • June 2018: Criminal trespass (1); Forgery (1); Simple assault/battery (3); Disorderly conduct (2); Cruelty towards children (1); Drug violation (1); Larceny (6)
  • July 2018: Theft of receiving stolen property (1); Larceny (2); Shoplifting (8); Drug violation (1); Simple assault (1); Terroristic threats (1)
  • Aug. 2018: Shoplifting (4); Criminal trespass (1); Larceny (2); Fraud (1)
  • Sept. 2018: Shoplifting (5); Drug violation (2); Obstructing officer (1); Larceny (2)
  • Oct. 2018: Shoplifting (1); Sexual assault (1); Larceny (2)
  • Nov. 2018: Shoplifting (6); Criminal trespass (1); Larceny (6); Forgery (1), Fraud (2); Drug violation (2)
  • Dec. 2018: Shoplifting (5); Criminal trespass (1); Fraud (2); Simple assault (1); Larceny (3)
  • Jan. 2019: Fraud (1); Drug violation (3); Shoplifting (1)
  • Feb. 2019: Criminal trespass (2); Larceny (1); Shoplifting (6)

West Rome store: The Rome Police Department also provided Hometown Headlines with statistics on incidents reported or occurring near West Rome Walmart over the last 12 months from March 2018 to present. Click here for entire report.

There were a few traffic incidents; however, there were 204 other incidents at the location with over half (155) that were shoplifting or larceny reports; plus reports of assaults, strongarm robbery and criminal trespass. Here is a brief summary:

  • March 2018: Terroristic threats (1); Shoplifting (14); Larceny (6); Fraud (1); Criminal trespass (1)
  • April 2018: Terroristic threats (2); Criminal trespass (3); Shoplifting (8); Fraud (1); Larceny (2)
  • May 2018: Shoplifting (18); Criminal trespass (3); Larceny (4)
  • June 2018: Shoplifting (10); Indecent exposure (1); Simple assault (1); Criminal trespass (1); Larceny (4); Forgery (1)
  • July 2018: Shoplifting (10); Larceny (2); Forgery (1); Simple assault (2); Disorderly conduct (2); Criminal trespass (2)
  • August 2018: Shoplifting (7); Fraud (2); Criminal trespass (2); Larceny (2); Robbery/Strongarm (1)
  • Sept. 2018: Terroristic threats (1); Harassing phone calls (1); Shoplifting (5); Criminal trespass (1); Making false report (1); Larceny (2); Simple assault (1)
  • Oct. 2018: Shoplifting (8); Larceny (5); Forgery (1); Criminal damage (1); Disorderly conduct (1); Criminal trespass (1)
  • Nov. 2018: Shoplifting (11); Criminal trespass (1); Theft of automobile (1); Larceny (1)
  • Dec. 2018: Shoplifting (11); Simple assault (1); Obstructing officers (1); Larceny (1)
  • Jan. 2019: Shoplifting (12); Larceny (2); Drug violation (2); Criminal trespass (1); Fraud (1)
  • Feb. 2019: Shoplifting (8); Fraud (1); Larceny (1); Theft of receiving stolen property (1); Loitering/Prowling (1); Criminal trespass (1)

 

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