D.C. Community Leader Opposes Wal-Mart Because It Will Cause Kids To Steal

There have been plenty of arguments advanced by opponents of Wal-Mart’s entry into the District of Columbia, but this one has to be the most condescending:

Brenda Speaks, a Ward 4 ANC commissioner, actually urged blocking construction of the planned store in her ward at Georgia and Missouri avenues NW partly because of that risk. Addressing a small, anti-Wal-Mart rally at City Hall on Monday, Speaks said young people would get criminal records when they couldn’t resist the temptation to steal.

Speaks isn’t alone, a local resident said pretty much the same thing:

“There’ll probably be a lot of shoplifting going on. They’ll need a lot of security,” Terriea Sutton, 35, said.

That’s a pretty sad indictment of the kids in your neighborhood, lady.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. jfoobar says:

    Ms. Speaks also has epic hair. Observe:


  2. Stan25 says:

    It is not the kids that steal from stores. Oh sure there is some of that, but 90% of the shoplifting crimes are done by adults. Especially the big ticket items. So that hair brained woman that said that is just that. What the whole anti- Walmart crusade is all about is the anti-union policy that Wal-Mart has.

  3. John Peabody says:

    I once read that 10% of the shoplifting was done by employees, but they make off with 90% of the value of total losses. But, let’s not quibble. This argument is really lame.

  4. JKB says:

    It’s a pretty poor statement about the parents and other adults in the neighborhood as well.

    What is odd is the persistent lament about the lack of stores in urban areas. Stores that are reluctant to locate for the very reason that their shoplifting losses are so much higher in such areas. That and urban buyers tend to be frequent, small volume buyers which raises labor costs over buggy-full shoppers.

    But Walmart has world class security. Walmart is uniquely positioned to open a store and control theft losses. If the cops bring in a receipt, Walmart can track the purchaser all the way back through the store to when they get out of their car. They even sometimes put up cop-in-a-box on a crane to watch vehicle break-ins. Maybe the good community organizer is afraid that Walmart will be effective in controlling crime and thus not be a good addition to the neighborhood wealth redistribution program.

  5. “They’ll probably need a lot of security”

    Hey! Look at that! We just created more jobs! <3