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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.

TOM RUSSO March 02, 2012 at 04:08 PM
hi diane, you are so correct. its not just walmart & stop n shop. 7 11, cvs and so on. the cops dont do anything about it..they make you feel uncomfortable to walk by them. i ahd to on several occasions walk elderly people to there car because the bums would not get out of there way..most dont bother you but some get angry and curse at you for not giving them money....if you go by rita;s at night, a bum has taken up residency there...wallmart should hire security to keep the area safe
Cat March 02, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Walmart is a crappy company so you get what you pay for, deep discount.
diane March 02, 2012 at 10:03 PM
I have complained to both Walmart & stop & shop & they said they can't keep them out of the parking lot.. but they can keep them out of the store. I was @ Walmart 2 days ago & there was a man in a walmart handicap motor scooter hitting everybody up for $ before you walk into Walmart ..I complained & was asked was he in a walmart cart , I said I am not sure but makes me uncomftable... I went & took a look & sure enough he was in the walmart cart ! that cart is for the shoppers not panhandelers. they never asked him to leave. When I take my 93 year old grandmother there sometimes there is not enough handicap carts...again why is Uniondale Walmart closed @ 900 pm !! Beacuse it keeps crime down late night. they are a step ahead.
patricia maher March 02, 2012 at 10:27 PM
Someone also asked me for money in the Walmart parking lot.
Cat March 03, 2012 at 02:50 AM
I love how no one is upset about the recent upswing in homelessness in the area, just that they beg. Homeless SHOULD make you uncomfortable.
Claudine March 03, 2012 at 04:33 AM
I was at wally world 2 days ago and I saw the same man on the scooter with a woman. they were harassing a mother with her child at the toy vending machine, then panhandling and laughing and talking about the customers. When I went to leave they were still there and i told the service desk cuz I didn't feel comfortable. After about 15 minutes waiting for security to come I saw the guy on the scooter. Then I went over to them and told them off and told them that the drugs aren't doing them any good cuz they look like damn fools and they should be ashamed for using those carts, cuz when someone needs to use it the battery is used up. Well I had to go back today and I saw a woman try 3 scooters, and they all didn't work. I told her about the incident the other day and she thanked me. She told me that this is a constant problem and wally world does nothing. Disgusting! Time to go to target!
P.M. March 03, 2012 at 12:48 PM
Walmart and Shop and Shop...should hire together security...If not then start closing earlier.. Those two people using the carts are a BIG PROBLEM..they know they are getting away with being insulting and no one is doing anything about it..so they have a feel of power among us... I am waiting for them to approach me..and if an when they do I am going to tell them the F _ _ _ !! OFF! I am not scared ard I am no stuff cookie... but they are really not a sight that I like seeing there... I am only concern for the people whom are not able to fend for themselves... I also know that if smething is not done soon ..it is just going to multiply and son both stores will lose and hopefully realize the business that they are losing..when shoppers have no choice but to stop shopping at those hours!!
driven AHR March 03, 2012 at 01:12 PM
Walmarts hours are till 11pm as of feb 1st. I havee been raised here in EM and it is unfortunate to see homeless population grow. Walmart is not the issue as we have had homelessness here before. Anywhere there is warmth and access to panhandle in a comfortable environment u will see panhandlers. The police need to take action and have a game plan. There are plenty of 24 hr stores including walmarts throughout the country that do not have this problem. The county needs to come up with a way to not move the homeless people, but eliminate homelessness. Security and police involvement is key to make customers feel safe no matter what time you shop anywhere.
Helen Meittinis March 03, 2012 at 03:31 PM
I have experienced regular panhandling and another scheme which has happened a few times that I visited Walmart in the past. Two women walk the parking lot with a clipboard and ask for donations in cash for some bogus organization. I saw the same "twin" sisters on a few occasions. When I was approached by one, I called 911 and sat there until the officer arrived. I asked the police to get the proper document signed by Walmart so that they can arrest people who do this nonsense. The women left the area and showed up at COSTCO and I did the same thing there. I guess they moved on to other centers. Folks, as a civic leader I have to say that you must report these things to the police. They will respond but emergencies take precedence. I have fielded complaints on this issue and steps are already in place to conquer this issue. Hang in there, as it doesn't happen over night and if you see anything out of the ordinary in the meantime..... please call 911. I agree that Walmart should not be open that late at night. The old saying that crime never sleeps is true and it walks throughout the night.
Susan March 03, 2012 at 03:40 PM
“It is breeding grounds for succumb, in plain English." Please forgive me for asking but I have no clue what this sentence means based on the definition of succumb. succumb - definition of succumb by the Free Online Dictionary ... suc·cumb (s-k m) intr.v. suc·cumbed, suc·cumb·ing, suc·cumbs. 1. To submit to an overpowering force or yield to an overwhelming desire; give up or give in. If the speaker meant succumb to giving these panhandlers money just because they are there, then I don't understand why she can't just walk past them and ignore them? One doesn't need to succumb to giving them money just because they are there.
Marc March 03, 2012 at 08:53 PM
I now refuse to shop at either store because of this issue. And I do just love when I hear Norma Gonsalves stating that reducing precinct jobs will not affect the current state of affairs on our streets. Wake up, Norma; simply telling us what Mr. Mondello tells you to doesn't make it so, and the streets of East Meadow are already less safe than 10 years ago. What are you doing about it? Cutting police and telling us everything will be okay. Yes, that makes sense. East Meadow resident safety should be your first priority. The PEOPLE are you were elected to speak for, not the party!
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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