Bay area leaders want answers from Walmart

Posted at 10:18 PM, May 18, 2016

Whether it's shop lifting, mid isle brawls or parking lot theft, Bay area police keep getting called to Walmart.

"Walmart stores in Tampa Bay, especially Hillsborough County, has had an extraordinary amount of police calls," said Hillsborough County Commissioner Victor Crist.

Extra ordinary might be an understatement, Crist says between Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando and Pinellas counties, there've been a staggering 16 thousand calls last year alone.

"That can be very expensive, especially to the tax payer because they're footing the bill," said Crist.

A bill he plans to bring up with Walmart officials with hopes of establishing a plan to cut calls and crime drastically.

"Like maybe requiring Walmart stores to maintain a higher level of security of their own," suggest Crist. "Or to take a look at what kind of calls are being called in and whether or not they're appropriate."

But determining that may not be easy said Crist.

"Certainly the numbers sound high and they sound unreasonably high," said Business owner Ali Erturk.

Erturk says Walmart should be held to the same standards as every other business but adds deciding which calls deserve police and which don't is a frustrating position. Erturk say businesses should be able to get help from police whenever they need it.

"As a business owner, I have an alarm system and with my alarm system I'm allowed to let the cops come a certain amount of times and if I go over I pay a penalty," said Erturk. "They won't come to my alarm calls 10 thousand times a year."

With walmart racking up 4 times as many calls as similar stores its size, Crist says the time to act is now.

"Sixteen thousand calls a year coming from the Walmart stores, there's got to be a way to reduce that call quantity," said Crist.