How Does Walmart Track Shoplifting? (You’ll Be Surprised)

It is estimated that Walmart loses approximately $3 billion every year as a result of theft! Because of this, Walmart takes shoplifting very seriously.

Granted, this is only 1% of its usual $300 billion revenue, but this begs the question: how does Walmart track shoplifting and theft in its stores? The answer might surprise you.

How Does Walmart Track Shoplifting?

Walmart tracks shoplifters by using Loss Prevention Associates, surveillance cameras, and security scanners at the doors. Walmart also uses cameras at self-checkouts AI technology to recognize if an item has not been scanned before being placed in the bag.

Want to learn other methods that Walmart is using to detect and track theft? Keep on reading!

Walmart Uses Image Recognition To Track Theft

Walmart suffers huge financial losses every year as a result of shoplifting. These losses have increased with the introduction of self-checkout areas.

Today, Walmart uses image recognition technology supplied by the Irish company Everseen to reduce theft in self-checkouts.

These cameras are placed near the cashier and self-service checkout in over 1000 stores to detect shoplifting activity using AI technology.

The cameras track items instead of people and can detect when an item has been placed in the bag without being scanned first. If the program has been flagged, it will alert a member of staff to the attempted theft.  

Additionally, Walmart also uses intercom codes such as Code 300 and Department 51 (among many others) to bring attention to potential shoplifting in-store.

What Happens If You Get Caught Shoplifting At Walmart?

Walmart is quick to press charges on anyone found shoplifting. They are also a lot less likely to drop petty theft charges than other stores, which means you could be left with a criminal record, making it extremely difficult to find jobs in the future.

Depending on the value of what you stole, you could face up to a year in jail (or more) if someone catches you stealing from Walmart when under 16, they will most likely encourage you to return the items and leave the store.  

If I Am Caught Shoplifting On Camera At Walmart, Do I Have The Right To See The Footage?  

What Happens If You Get Caught Shoplifting At Walmart?  

Walmart is not obligated to show you any footage they have of you shoplifting.

If Walmart presses charges, they will hand the tape over to the police as evidence, but they do not have to hand it over to the shoplifter. If you want to see the tape, you probably need to get a defense lawyer.  

To learn more, also see our guide on how long Walmart keeps CCTV security footage for.

Does Walmart Call The Cops For Shoplifting?  

Yes, Walmart does call the cops for shoplifting. If barcode alarms go off and they find security camera footage of you shoplifting, then they will call the police, and you will most likely be arrested.

If you believe you are wrongly accused of shoplifting, remain calm and ask to speak with the police immediately.

Ask the police to question store security. If nothing comes of that, then you may need to find an attorney. Under no circumstances must you sign anything if you believe you are innocent.  

What Happens When You Get Caught Shoplifting at Walmart For the First time?

If you are under 16, you will be asked to return the items and will be escorted home either by your parents or the police, but you may escape charges.

If you are over 16 and caught shoplifting from Walmart for the first time, it is highly unlikely that you will go to jail. However, you may still be charged with a misdemeanor, which can remain permanently on your record.

You will also be banned from entering any Walmart Store in the future. If you get caught shoplifting again in another Walmart store, then you could be looking at jail time, a fine, or probation.

The consequences for being caught a second time are often a lot more severe, and if you are caught a third time, you will be charged with a felony, not just a misdemeanor.  

Can You Be Charged With Shoplifting Weeks After Having Shoplifted?  

Stores like Walmart legally have two years to file charges against shoplifters! Retail stores can take weeks or, in some cases, months to file shoplifting charges.

That means you can be charged well after you have committed the crime. Most of the time, though, it takes under two months.  

To learn more, you can also see my post on whether or not Walmart can check your receipt when exiting the store, the most stolen items from Walmart, what sets off Walmart door alarms, and the Walmart lost and found policy.


Walmart works tirelessly to reduce the impact that shrinkage has on their yearly profits. To do this, they adopt numerous methods to ensure that shoplifters are caught, tracked, and charged. Security cameras inside and outside, barcode scanners, and, most recently, image recognition ensure that shoplifters have a slim chance of getting away with it.

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of

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