As budget-conscious consumers prepare to ransack major retail outlets during their most profitable day of the year, retailers have ramped up security efforts in anticipation of swarms of unruly crowds, with at least one Walmart in California enlisting four armed guards.
According to the Northridge-Chatsworth Patch, “There will be 27 additional security guards, four of them armed, when the holiday shopping surge begins at the Porter Ranch Walmart on Thanksgiving night.”
Citing an incident that took place last year in which a woman fired pepper spray at customers in an alleged attempt to procure an Xbox game console, injuring 20 people, the Walmart manager defended the extra security as necessary.
“We don’t want anything like what happened last year to repeat itself. So we are taking extra precautions to make sure we are safe,” the manager told the Patch, implying the extra security is in place to protect merchandise and workers, not shoppers.
The LAPD stated they’d be assisting by beefing up their parking lot surveillance and saying it will supply roving patrols conducted by “officers on bikes, a mounted horse patrol and even regular fly-bys by police helicopters.”
Florida’s Boca Raton Police Department is also on high alert for Black Friday criminal activity, going one step further by issuing a call for citizens to spy and snitch on each other in efforts to curtail an expected pandemonium of “thievery and thuggery.”
Earlier today, BRPD issued their own version of the DHS’ “See Something, Say Something” campaign, enlisting citizen snitches to alert authorities if any suspicious vehicles are seen “circling or driving slowly,” or people are seen “loitering or whom you don’t recognize,” or if “strange vehicles” are “backed up to a garage door in a residential area.”
The police department gives no explanation of what a “strange vehicle” might be, or caution that during the holidays there are hundreds of folks in from out-of-town, nor does it advise that a car circling or driving slowly could just be looking for parking; it just encourages people to snitch because “If it doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t.”
This citizen snitch measure falls right in line with the FBI’s “Communities Against Terrorism” program which warned people at shopping malls to be suspicious of individuals that “shave their beard” or change their “style of dress” from visit to visit.
The FBI’s “Potential Indicators of Terrorist Activities in Shopping Malls and Entertainment Facilities” flyer lists people who discreetly use cameras, video recorders or take notes as potential terrorists, as well as anybody displaying “anti-U.S. Sentiments that appear to be out-of-place and provocative,” in other words, anyone exercising their First Amendment rights.
Police presence at Walmart Black Friday events was brought into question last year when a Youtube video surfaced showing Buckeye, Arizona police cleaning up after they “accidentally” knocked a grandfather unconscious because a Walmart employee told them the man was shoplifting.