Why Does Walmart Have Security Guards

Security guards have a typical part in airports, banks, and other locations where public safety is of top priority or there is a high potential for crime. So, it might be curious to see security guards at your neighborhood Walmart. After all, why does Walmart have security guards? 

Walmart has security guards to monitor stores for security threats, especially during odd hours and in areas with high crime. These guards aim to protect their shoppers and the store’s employees from potentially violent situations and to prevent theft. 

Continue reading to learn more about the security situation at Walmart. 

Security guards patrol parking lots and aisles regularly

Most of the time the security team spends is likely doing regular sweeps of the parking lot and aisles to watch out for any threats. These threats may consist of people acting erratically and needing to be monitored throughout their visit or of people who the guards may have reason to believe are shoplifting.

Otherwise, a regular patrol route may consist of regularly checking fire exits, high-trafficked areas, and alarm systems to guarantee effective functioning. 

Security guard activity might be more common during the later hours of the evening and into the night than they are during the daytime, though if your location has guards, there will be someone available during most, if not all, open hours. Security guards may also be present during non-business hours while the employees unload trucks with the merchandise. 

Because of their insider knowledge of the store, customers are encouraged to ask the guards for assistance locating aisles, bathrooms, and exits. While they may not know exact item placements, the guards should be able to point the customer in the right direction.

Respond to suspicious activity reported by customers or employees

If any individual makes a customer or employee uncomfortable or acts suspiciously, it is appropriate to locate the security guard on duty to report that activity. When a threat is detected, the guards can swiftly respond and mitigate any danger while maintaining an orderly environment. 

If someone is being violent, erratic, or disruptive beyond the means that the security guards can handle, then the guards will escort the individual off the premises. If needed, backup resources will be called and brought to the store to handle the situation further. 

Prevent theft and destruction of property

Theft prevention is a top priority of security guards in most retail stores, and Walmart is no exception. 

It’s a common misconception that security guards cannot detain individuals if they are suspected of shoplifting. Walmart policy states they will not detain if the theft is under $25, but they will urge the suspect to leave the merchandise at the store. In the future, the individual may be monitored if allowed on the premises or banned entirely. 

Individuals who are actively (or are suspected of) destroying property will have the police called on them and can face felony charges for the damages done to the merchandise. Destruction of property may also extend to vehicles in the parking lot, in which case security guards will notify the appropriate authorities to take action. 

Inspect equipment, such as fire extinguishers, to ensure they are in working order in case of emergency

Risks are not always in the form of humans; often, faulty equipment or a lack of proper safety protocols can be just as much of a risk in case an emergency occurs in the store. Maintenance of fire extinguishers, first aid kits, and alarm systems are all integral to the safe operations of the store. 

Ensuring fire protocols are enforced, and clear exits is another duty of security guards. This may be part of their regular patrol routes to ensure no exits are blocked throughout the day, which, if not maintained, can become a severe hazard in an emergency. 

Provide emergency response and call for back-up, as needed

Security guards most commonly respond to violent situations and theft, but in the case of non-violent life-threatening situations, they can also perform first aid and CPR. These skills are essential to training security guards to address minor emergencies and determine when higher intervention is required. 

If these basic life-saving procedures are not enough, first responders are called to the scene immediately to perform further assistance. 

Are there armed security guards at every Walmart?

Not every Walmart will have security guards, let alone armed ones. This will depend on your location and if there is a lot of crime in the area, though it doesn’t necessarily mean that the store, in particular, has seen high rates of crime. Peak times, such as Black Friday and the holiday shopping season, may call for an increased rate of security to manage shoplifters and prevent potential violent outbreaks that often occur during these times. 

If you do see armed guards in a Walmart location, they are likely off-duty or retired police officers. In this case, illegal activity can lead to these officers being able to legally detain and arrest those breaking the law. 

Can security at Walmart detain you? 

Non-police security officers may be able to “reasonably” detain a customer if they are suspected of shoplifting. From here, the security officer is to call a police officer to pick up the suspected offender and, therefore, will be released from detention by the Walmart security guard. The detainee can ask for a lawyer at any point in time when being detained. 

Off-duty police officers have more legal backing to detain and make arrests, if applicable. They can respond more quickly to violence should suspicious or illegal activity occurs. Violence or potentially life-threatening situations are dealt much more severity than theft, though both can result in felony charges if applicable. 

Final Thoughts

Walmart security guards are in place to keep the customers and employees safe while shopping and working. 

Should any concerns arise regarding safety or theft, it is appropriate to let these guards know so they can perform their duties to both the company and the community. 

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