BURGAW, NC (WECT) - Officers in both New Hanover County and Wilmington claim Walmart keeps them busy. In the past six months, around 1,000 emergency units, meaning police, fire or EMS, were sent to either the Walmart on Carolina Beach Road or the Walmart on Sigmon Road.
The Burgaw Police Chief said she is aware of the increasing activity that a Walmart can generate. She said that even without the Walmart coming to Burgaw, the area is growing.
Chief Sutton said she was already planning to ask for funding for two more police officers, bringing the department total to 14 police officers. Now, with a Walmart on the way, she said the extra manpower will definitely help out.
"Our volume has increased even without a Walmart here," Chief Sutton said. "So if we are going to have even more, than we are going to need just a little bit of help."
While she said she is not concerned about the new business, she said the Walmart is something to be aware of. That's why she said she will be briefing the police department on what to expect. She also plans to have officers patrol the area when the Walmart is built as much as possible.
"Walmart being the type store that it is, and as large as it is, it may call for a different type of response than we would to one of our local stores that's here now. They are much smaller, they don't have as many customers in there at one time, so it's going to take some of just letting the officers know what can occur, may occur and just be ready whatever it is," Chief Sutton said.
From October 1, 2013 to mid-March 2014, 753 units consisting of police, fire, or EMS reported to the Walmart on Sigmon Road in Wilmington. In that same time period, 477 units reported to the Walmart on Carolina Beach Road in New Hanover County.
Not all of those incidents were about shoplifting, in fact at the Sigmon Road location only about 33% of the incidents were shoplifting, larceny or breaking and entering. That number is only 22% at the Carolina Beach Road Walmart.
The rest of the incidents at both locations ranged from medical calls, trespassing, harassment, fights, improperly parked cars, lost property, accidents, alarms, patrols reporting to the area, follow ups, etc.
When it comes to Brunswick County, since October 1, 2013 there have been 272 calls to the Leland Walmart, 241 calls to the Shallotte Walmart and 119 calls to the Southport Walmart.
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