Was Cooper's Assertion About the Elk Grove Blvd. Wal Mart Correct?

August 25, 2013 | If there has been one constant in Elk Grove politics over the last several years it is this  - Elk Grove City Counc...

August 25, 2013 |

If there has been one constant in Elk Grove politics over the last several years it is this  - Elk Grove City Council Member Jim Cooper has consistently opposed expansion of big box retailers. More specifically, Cooper has consistently opposed retailing behemoth Wal Mart.

While Cooper's opposition may stem from his Democratic Party membership, the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department veteran has also noted that Wal Mart's tend to be crime magnets. Cooper most recently voiced this concern at the city council meeting where Wal Mart's Elk Grove Blvd. store was awarded a liquor license.

At the time, Cooper implored his fellow council members that if they researched, they would find that store is a problem crime area.

"If you don't believe me, and want time to do your research, put it over, and have the research done, and what I am saying here will be corroborated," Cooper said to council members Steve Detrick, Pat Hume and Robert Trigg at the July 10 city council meeting.

Although Cooper's city council members didn't buy his pitch, (Mayor Gary Davis joined Cooper in opposition) EGN decided to take Cooper up on his assertion and do a thumbnail analysis.

To do this, we utilized the Elk Grove Police Department's crime mapper and we did a basic search of reported crimes in the last 30 days. 

According to the map for the location that approximates the Elk Grove Blvd. Wal Mart store, there have been 21 reported incidents in the last 30 days. Of these, there were 17 thefts, two robberies and two breaking and entering.

For a comparison, we looked at information for the same 30 days for the Laguna Blvd. Target store. According to the mapping info, the location that approximates that store reported eight incidents including seven thefts and one breaking and entering.

Granted, this is a quick and simple analysis, but it does seem to bear out Cooper's claims - the Elk Grove Blvd. Wal Mart is a problematic area.        

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Anonymous said...

Not quite a 3-to-1 ratio, but enough of a pattern to see that Cooper is probably correct in his assumptions...IMO, Wal-Mart’s clientele has much more "character" than the Target shoppers. I rarely shop at Wal-Mart but have been their enough to know it's not for me. For others, it might be a necessity. With the city of Sacramento reducing the BIG BOX restrictions, it will be only a matter of time before there is a Wal-Mart just the other side of Calvine Road that will draw these characters to the fringe of our city.

Tom said...

Off sale liquor availability at this store will not change anything one way or another.

Anonymous said...

It won't help improve things.

Anonymous said...

ABC stated there was an over-concentration of liquor sales in the area. Did this not get anyones attention and reason to give this more thought? Especially Mr. Trigg, someone who spent a lifetime working with children. In doing a little research some reasons this may not have been a good idea and better left to liquor stores...

Small liquor stores have vested interest in controlling access to beer and liquor.

Unaccompanied minors are not allowed and all minors are scrutinized.

Serious anti-theft measures in place, focusing on human supervision.

Large food retailers open 24 hours with minimal staff in aisles.

Large retailers place case-stacks of beer, liquor and wine throughout store to prompt impulse purchases, making target for theft and in-store consumption.

Measures in place at register are irrelevant when theft and in-store consumption occurs. Teenagers are very unlikely to attempt to use register lanes when obtaining liquor.

Chains have dis-incentive to report theft or consumption by minors to liquor control authorities.

“Shrink” in inventory easily overlooked by large retailer; lost inventory matters a lot to independent liquor stores.

Just sayin...

Jill said...

I agree with poster above this regarding Mr. Trigg's extensive education background. You would think he might use some of that experience in making wise choices.

But as Mr. Trigg has said time and time again, he has been briefed on various matters by city staff. Could this be an example of how he is "briefed" by city staff? What a poor choice Mayor Davis made by going along with this appointment.

Gregory Jones said...

There will be an increase in broken glass in the parking lot. And an increase in problematic "encounters" .

I'll have to go with Cooper on this one.

Anonymous said...

The EG Blvd Walmart has easy freeway getaway access to Hwy 99. Location, location, location. Criminals will find themselves in gridlock trying to getaway from Target, and the new Walmart offers easy getaway if you wear a cow costume and head for the fields!

Anonymous said...

Not a Walmart fan... That said, there was no legal basis by which the council could deny them the application.
However, that isn't the point of this post.
Some thoughts relative to the point of this article. At first blush, it could appear as though Walmart is more of a problem than Target. However, I'm not convinced that the comparison of Walmart incidents are comparable to Target incidents - in fact, I think the conclusion is misleading. Consider that Target and Walmart do not have the same operating hours (Walmart operates 24 hours and Target operates from 8am to 11:00pm).
And, finally, what was not clearly elaborated by Councilman Cooper was the impact (or lack of impact) of Walmart on the surrounding area. If we are to claim that Walmart is a danger to our community, you need to make a clear case that it's presence has some negative impact on the surrounding community - not just in the store itself. Has there been an increase in crime in the surrounding community, after Walmart came in? If there is an increase, has the increase outpaced the average for the rest of Elk Grove?
Again, while I'm not a fan of Walmart, I've heard no solid evidence (relative to this specific topic) that they are anything less than a responsible business in the community.

Sarah Johnson said...

What is the point of having ABC rules like "overconcentration of liquor licenses in the area", if that can simply be disregarded by the City Council??

Joe Friday said...

No matter how you slice it, crime is crime.

Anonymous said...

Sarah, if memory serves, no one made an argument to deny the application based on "over concentration of liquor licenses in the area." That said, some guidelines that I think apply.
Undue concentration applies when: High crime, - At least 20% higher than average (Premises located in crime reporting district with 20 percent greater number of reported crimes compared to entire law enforcement jurisdiction)
Too many outlets:, More than the county average. (As to off-sale, the ratio of off-sale retail licenses to population in
the census tract or census division exceeds the ratio of off-sale
retail licenses to county population).
See Business and Professions Code 23958.4(a) (1)-(3)
Again, if memory serves, EGPD did not make the assertion that the area was >20% and I do not remember any discussion regarding the ratio of off-sale licenses My bet is that, thanks to high ratios in other parts of the county, this clause wouldn't apply either.

Anonymous said...

Only reason I go to Walmart is to stock up on ammo!

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