SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - There are four Walmarts in Sioux Falls, one on each side of the city. In the parking lot of the east side location at Arrowhead Parkway, there are two blue lights with cameras in the parking lot.
According to the Sioux Falls Police Department, crime at each Walmart in Sioux Falls varies. A majority of the crimes reported at each location within the past year are small shoplifting petty thefts. The west side location has the most reported of 184. That's compared to 94 at the east side location.
The blue light system is part of a test program Walmart is trying out all over the United States. There are a few different reasons why Walmart chose the locations they did to try out the program.
"Is it a high traffic store? Is it in a busy area? Is there a lighting issue that they're working through in different areas of the parking lot?" Ragan Dickens said, who is a spokesperson for Walmart. "So they're looking at a certain set of criteria to determine where to put these initially in this test phase."
Dickens said the camera systems are called a mobile video platform. It's a camera system with a blue light on top.
"We are looking to cause the bad guy that would come to our parking lot or to our store to pause and say 'Hey, Walmart might not be the best place for me to commit this crime,'" he said.
They are also there to make the associates and customers feel more safe.
"We want their expectations of a safe shopping experience to be true. We want them to be able to show up, whether they're showing up to work or whether to buy their goods," Dickens said. "We want that to be a safe and enjoyable shopping experience and so this adds to that hope."
Walmart will continue testing this out all over the country and assess where they will be most beneficial. The retail store doesn't have a timeline of when the camera systems could potentially be in the parking lots of the other Walmarts in the city.
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