It’s a nationwide trend that’s been discussed for years: when Walmart opens in a city, it leads to an increase in crime in that area.
Hewitt Police Chief Jim Devlin said it’s true in Central Texas, but only to a point. Both Hewitt and Killeen’s police departments said it’s to be expected when foot traffic is that heavily concentrated.
“I think if you do crime mapping, in most communities, over those big box stores there’s usually a big color area,” Devlin said. “That will show the amount of activity from law enforcement.”
In Hewitt, Channel 6 looked at the numbers since Oct. 1, 2017.
Citywide, the police department has taken 568 total reports, of which 102 originated at Walmart — roughly 18 percent. Of those at Walmart, 82 were for theft.
In Killeen, there are four Walmart stores, two of which are branded as Neighborhood Markets. Those two stores combined for 10 calls in that time, six of which were for theft.
Near the Walmart located in the 3400 block of West Stan Schlueter Loop, there have been 50 calls, 13 of which were for theft.
The Walmart in the 1400 block of Lowes Boulevard in Killeen is located near several other major retail outlets, so it’s hard to break it down by store. However, since Oct. 1, the block has received 229 police calls, of which 127 were for theft.
“It’s nothing to Target, Walmart or any…