Shopping centers in Henrico, Chesterfield have highest rate of c - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Shopping centers in Henrico, Chesterfield have highest rate of calls for police

Source: NBC12 Source: NBC12

We wanted to know where police got the most calls for help, so we asked local agencies for the locations of their highest calls for service. We found police are spending a lot of time at popular spots you love to frequent.

Shopping centers top the list of most calls for service in both Chesterfield and Henrico counties. Two Walmart Supercenters, Short Pump Town Center Mall, Chesterfield Towne Center Mall and Willow Lawn.

"I mean you've got people in the world... people are just unjust," said shopper Maurice Woods. "People are unjust. They are not going to do right regardless."

But Lt. Col. Brian Smith with the Chesterfield Police is quick to point out, a lot of calls for service does not mean an area is unsafe.

"No it doesn't mean that at all," said Smith. "It just means that are a lot of people in that area and there are certain incidents that go on that we respond to."

All five of these shopping centers are large, with a lot of foot and vehicle traffic.

No. 1 on the list? 7901 Brook Road in Henrico County, home to a Walmart Supercenter.

Police were called out to this area more than 600 times between November 2014 and October 2015, a shock to shoppers like Misty Milstap.

"I always feel safe," said Milstap. "I've never seen anybody getting in trouble. I've never had issues here."

She’s right to be skeptical of the high number. Police tell us just because they respond to a location often doesn't mean everything is actually happening inside a store. It's a large location and the easiest address to pinpoint for accidents that happen on the roads right in front.

In fact, more than half of those calls were for shoplifting. Another 97 calls were for larcenies.

"Some folks are more aggressive on how they go after shoplifters, and that impacts us as well," added Smith.

No. 2 on the list, the 11500 block of Midlothian Turnpike. That’s where we find the Chesterfield Towne Center Mall. Police were called more than 530 times between November 2014 and October 2015.

83 of those calls were for shoplifting. 66 for motor vehicle crashes. 60 times police were called for larceny.

Nos. 3 and 4 are Short Pump Town Center and Willow Lawn. Both locations had 436 calls for service.

Police were often called for store alarms and vehicle accidents on the roads out front. Larcenies were again another big reason.

And No. 5 5 is the 12200 block of Chattanooga Place. That location is home to another Walmart Supercenter.

Again, shoplifting was the number 1 call for service between Nov. 1, 2014, and Oct. 31, 2015. There were 89 larcenies at this location.

"Unfortunately, criminal activity does occur in every community, and it's something that every retailers face, but let me assure you we put a lot of focus on our safety measures to try and prevent these incidents in our stores,” said Walmart spokesperson Erica Jones.

In a statement, Chesterfield Towne Center's owners, Rouse Properties, told us safety is the top priority.

"We have a round-the-clock private security team in place who regularly patrols the property, and we enjoy the full support of the Chesterfield Police Department who we regularly maintain an active dialogue with..."

Police say the fact that they have a lot of calls here and at the other locations shows one thing:

"It shows that we have a good relationship with the community members in that area, cause they are calling us. We would be concerned if they didn't call us and things were going on," said Smith.

This list is really a reminder that crime can happen anywhere. We all need to be on our guard and be aware of our surroundings.

"Please lock your vehicles," said Smith. "If you have valuables in your vehicles, please hide them in your vehicle or take them with you. Again, the best way to not be a victim of a crime is make sure you do everything to harden your target. When you walk from your vehicle, keep your purse close to your person, pay attention to your surroundings."

Walmart’s Full Statement:

We serve more than an 140 million customers in our US stores every week. Unfortunately criminal activity does occur in every community and it’s something that every retailers face, but let me assure you we put a lot of focus on our safety
measures to try  and prevent these incidents in our stores. So, the numbers are a little artificially inflated when you actually look at what the calls for service are. We closely partner with law enforcement agencies in every community we serve to continually
review our safety measures and make them even more effective. We find that if we stop a shoplifter in our store those individuals are going to be less likely to attempt that same crime at other community businesses. We’re continually working to deter crime
in our stores and our parking lots.  This could include adding more security cameras or increasing parking lot lighting  and sometimes even increasing officer patrols.

Chesterfield Towne Center’s Full statement:

The safety of our customers, retailers and employees is our top priority and we have robust security measures in place to ensure their well-being.
We have a round-the-clock private security team in place who regularly patrols the property and we enjoy the full support of the Chesterfield Police Department, who we regularly maintain an active dialogue with. We take great pride in providing the Chesterfield
community with a safe and family-friendly shopping environment and a premier retail destination that features a leading mix of high-quality national and local retailers.

– Rouse Properties

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