How Does Walmart Track Shoplifting?: The advancement in technology has brought about improvements in the check out process at Walmart stores. Customers now do a self service-checkout without any aid from Walmart’s associates.

In recent times, criminal minded individuals have decided to take advantage of this technological improvement to shoplift at Walmart stores thereby contributing to loss of revenue at Walmart.

It is reported that Walmart loses about 1% of its revenue generated by theft and shoplifting every year. That accounts for about $5,531,000,000 in 2021 (over five billion dollars).

So, this article explains how Walmart tracks shoplifting, and the repercussions on those that are caught.

what is Shoplifting?

Shoplifting is the act of stealing items from a store. This typically involves taking items without paying for them or removing items from the premises without paying or with the intention of not paying. Shoplifting is a crime in most jurisdictions and can result in fines, jail time, or both.

How Does Walmart Track Shoplifting?

Walmart uses a variety of methods to track shoplifting. These methods include video surveillance, store detectives, and electronic sensors on merchandise.

Walmart also utilizes facial recognition software to identify and track potential shoplifters. Additionally, Walmart may use electronic article surveillance (EAS) tags to deter shoplifting by setting off an alarm if an item is taken through the exit without being deactivated.

How Does Walmart Track Shoplifting?

Similarly, digital cameras are installed in strategic places at Walmart, So, a shoplifter can be caught in the act on camera and interrogated by Walmart’s associates.

So, if you sneak an item into your bag without proper scanning at the self service-checkout point, the anti-theft device at the door will sound an alarm to notify Walmart associates of possible shoplifting.

How Does Walmart Know if an Item is Stolen?

Walmart places security sensors at public entrances and exit doors at Walmart stores to search for active and attached security tags.

So, If an item is stolen and the shoplifter walks through the doorway at Walmart store, the item contains an hidden RF tag tug to a label inside which picks up radio waves frequency.

Subsequently, once this sensor is activated, the RF tag transmits its own signal at a precise frequency, and the receiver gate picks up the frequency waves and identifies their frequency.

So therefore, if the item was not duly scanned and paid for, the receiver gate will kick off an alarm to signal store associates of possible theft.

Immediately the store alarm signals, such customers will be apprehended, searched thoroughly, and interrogated. 

Measures Adopted By Walmart To Tame Shoplifting

To tame shoplifting and theft in Walmart stores and supercenters, Walmart has adopted a few measures. 

Some of these measures have proven effective and helped reduce theft. A few of them are:

Use of Loss Prevention Associates

One of the measures adopted by Walmart is the use of Loss prevention associates. These associates are like other Walmart associates, but they are solely in charge of preventing shoplifting and theft in Walmart stores. 

Increase in Surveillance Cameras

Another measure Walmart adopted to stem shoplifting and theft is the increase in the number of surveillance cameras present in Walmart stores. 

How Does Walmart Track Shoplifting: Increase in Surveillance Cameras

Although it has been in existence for a long time, its increase and proper monitoring have proven effective.

Use of Artificial Intelligence 

To further tighten its security at stores and supercenters, Walmart now uses image recognition technology at self-service checkout doors and some other strategic places.

This AI detects items that are put in bags and safes without being scanned by a cashier or at the self-service checkout.

When customers fail to scan an item at the checkout, the AI technology alerts some or one of the officials at Walmart’s store calling for help.

This has helped reduce the rate of theft and shoplifting in Walmart stores drastically.

Implement an electronic article surveillance system:

Electronic article surveillance systems use electronic tags to detect when an item is being stolen. Walmart install these systems in the store and have employees keep an eye out for any suspicious activity.

What happens if you get Caught Shoplifting at Walmart?

If you are caught stealing at Walmart, the litigations you face depend on your age.

Any Under 16 customer caught shoplifting will be reported to his/her parents or guardian to inform them of what their wards have done. The kid will be released after then or will face consequences based on the law in that particular location.

However, if you are older than 16 years, Walmart will keep you in detention using their security and press charges against you.

This is done to discourage others from stealing or shoplifting at Walmart.

Any apprehended shoplifter may spend up to a year in jail and may not be taken to jail at all. It all depends on the local laws of the region. Also, the gravity of the punishment may be decided by the cost of the shoplifted items at Walmart.

The case will also indent the customer’s record and may surface when a background check is run. This may and will likely reduce the arrested customer’s chance of getting a job.

Does Walmart Call the Cops if a Shoplifter is Caught at Walmart?

It depends, Walmart may decide to call the cops if you are not under 16 years and stole a costly item. Though if you are under 16 years, only your parents or guardian will be called to inform them of your actions. 

Walmart takes shoplifting very seriously and has a zero-tolerance policy. Walmart will also take legal action against the person who has been caught shoplifting, which could include pressing charges.

If you feel you are wrongly accused, see the next heading.

Can footage be requested when you are accused of shoplifting?

If you are accused of shoplifting, you have the right to request footage confirming that.

However, it is the store manager that decides when they show you the footage or not; you may be shown and vice versa.

If Walmart presses charges against you for shoplifting, the footage will be handed over to the police to confirm their accusation. You may have to call your lawyer before you have access to the footage in some cases.

If you are not caught immediately, can you be charged after a period?

Yes. Retail giants and stores like Walmart have the liberty to detain you and press charges if you escape or you are not caught after you shoplifted.

The next time you visit a Walmart store and you are recognized, you will be handed over to the police.

What happens when you are caught Stealing from Walmart?

If you are caught stealing from Walmart, you could be arrested and charged with shoplifting. Depending on the value of the items stolen, you could face criminal charges including theft, burglary, and/or larceny. Depending on the severity of the crime, you could be fined, face jail time, or both.

The punishment for first-time shoplifters is mild. However, if you are caught for a subsequent theft or shoplifting, you will face grave consequences.

Also, stricter measures like banning you from the Walmart store may be put in place.


All stores find ways to increase and boost their revenues. Walmart is not left out.

To increase revenue and curb shoplifting and theft at Walmart stores, Walmart has introduced several means to stop theft.

The latest one is image recognition technology, a proven AI that has helped Walmart to track shoplifting and reduce it as well. Other means are the increase of surveillance cameras in the store, the use of loss prevention associates, and many more.

Walmart may also include the police if a shoplifter is caught and may be charged in court. Everything rests on the local laws of the location.

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