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CNBC reports on an interview with Walmart CEO Doug McMillon in which he says that theft at Walmart stores is "higher than what it has historically been … We’ve got safety measures, security measures that we’ve put in place by store location. I think local law enforcement being staffed and being a good partner is part of that equation, and that’s normally how we approach it."

Nevertheless, McMillon tells CNBC, "a lax approach from prosecutors could impact prices and lead to store closures down the line.  'If that’s not corrected over time, prices will be higher, and/or stores will close,' McMillon said."

The story notes that "Walmart isn’t the only big-box retailer dealing with an uptick in theft. Last month, Target Chief Financial Officer Michael Fiddelke said shoplifting has jumped about 50% year over and year, leading to more than $400 million in losses in this fiscal year alone.   Most of the shoplifting is organized retail theft, rather than petty theft, Fiddelke said."

KC's View:

While I recognize that there are logistical issues at play here, I generally tend to be a fan of the approach that William Bratton took when he was the New York City Police Commissioner - he proved that a quality-of-life approach to policing that focuses on stopping and prosecuting small crimes can go a long way toward reducing major and violent crimes.

This approach goes back to the Old West.  In the 1880s, Smithsonian Magazine tells us, "the laws of Tombstone at the time required visitors, upon entering town to disarm, either at a hotel or a lawman's office."  Vigilant policing, the argument went, would reduce violent behavior.  (Of course, it didn't always work.  The lawmen in charge in Tombstone were named Earp, and it was resistance to that law that led to the fabled Gunfight at the OK Corral.  Oops.)