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Neighbors Concerned with Safety Issues Surrounding Walmart Parking Lot

Residents say that stores should close earlier and security should be increased.

Diane Paladi, an East Meadow resident who lives close by on Pengon Circle, takes regular advantage of the East Meadow ’s and ’s late hours.

But, it has also led her to notice increased safety issues in the two stores’ parking lot – namely panhandling and non-shoppers loitering in the lot. She said that “the parking lot is sleazy, slimy and disgusting.”

“It is breeding grounds for succumb, in plain English. Where else do you have 20 to 30 cars in a parking lot. They can get money from each one of them and then get their fix,” said Paladi of the panhandlers in the Walmart parking lot, noting that it “is a safe haven for the drunks and the people doing drugs trying to scramble up money because it is the only store open that late at night.”

A request for comment on the issue from and yielded no immediate response.

Shopping late at night two to three times a week, Paladi said that she has seen people drunk and “inebriated beyond belief,” homeless people sleeping on a bench inside one of the stores, and she has had people “sneak up” on her while near her car and ask for change -- attributing many of these issue to the late store hours and lack of security patrol.

Walmart is open until midnight seven days a week, according to its website, as is Stop & Shop.

“When you walk into a and you see two homeless people or drunks -- that is pretty bad,” she continued. “It is not a shelter. I don’t know how the store lets it go on. That is not somebody who really wants to shop… As a consumer walking around, I didn’t feel comfortable.”

Carol Vatter, an East Meadow resident in the same area as Paladi, said she has noticed an increase in small problems, including panhandling.

“There is a guy who sleeps right in front of all of the time,” she said. “I’m not against homeless people, but I just find it odd that this guy is always there. It just seems to attract a certain kind of element up there. I don’t see it in most of the other parking lots.”

Though Vatter said she usually shops during the day, she thinks people approaching her for change at night would bother her more. “Who wants to be approached all of the time with groceries in your hands -- you don’t know who these people are,” she added.

“These are things that spill over into the general community. These people go into the communities looking for change as well,” said Vatter, adding that someone searching for change broke into her car twice over the holidays.

Paladi added that she sees these issues trickling over into her neighborhood and adjacent businesses in the area, including the nearby 7-11. She said if and closed earlier, that could help solves some of the issues.

“Somebody should patrol the parking lot, whether by foot or by patrol car, and that doesn’t mean parking in the front with a spinning light,” she added.

Vatter said that more police officers on foot – not in vehicles – could help. She added that better lighting in the lot and security provided by the big box stores could also be an asset in preventing these issues.

“Taxes increase, but there is debris clutter and drunks [everywhere],” Paladi added. “How do you rectify this? I have been saying that I am not happy with this situation for months.”

Do you think the situation in the Walmart and Stop & Shop Parking lot is concerning? Tell us in the comments.

Rebecca March 04, 2012 at 06:11 AM
I lived a block away from the Walmart center for years. Boy, was it better back when Service Merchandise was there... Anyway...the Waltons have enough billions to house every homeless person in the country. So Walmart should be paying for real security, 24-7. Then again, I shop at Costco in Westbury and they don't have this problem. Costco has much better prices than Walmart anyway - just go during the week unless you want a 30-minute wait on line.
Cat March 04, 2012 at 09:35 PM
I guess no one has watched "Walmart: The high cost of low prices"...if you think this walmart is dangerous, you should see the murder/robbery/rape rate in other states at Walmart.
Jon L. March 05, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Well NYS PL §240.35(1) was designed to take care of this but was struck down as unconstitutional in Loper v. NYPD (90 Civ. 7546 SDNY). While people claim that the police are not doing anything it is because they can't do anything. What New York State needs is an aggressive panhandling statue that covers people actively approaching others and covers specific locations such as shopping centers, bank, automated teller machines and the like. It's easy to blame the cops but know the facts before you lay blame.
calpha March 26, 2012 at 03:26 AM
This post pisses me off. You don't know what could lead that poor guy to be on the street. I see him everyday for a very long time now and he has not bothered me once. He might not have any family or anyone to go to. I would probably be homeless to if I still didn't live at home because of the outrageous cost of living in ny. Even with my 2 jobs working 60+ hours a week it would be tough making it through the month on my own. Maybe someone should offer people like him a chance at getting back on his feet again. Help him get a job and get his life back together. I'm sure that people like the homeless guy in front of walmart don't like sitting out in the cold all the time.
the lerman report .com July 06, 2012 at 01:45 AM
I've called The main office at wal-mart and they basicaly say its out of their control read more on The Lerman Report®

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