How Does Walmart Track Shoplifting? [Image Recognition & More]

Wondering how does Walmart track shoplifting? They use different ways. We'll talk about each of them in this article. Keep reading to learn more.

Shoplifting is a big deal for retailers. No retail wants to lose money due to theft. In fact, a retailer’s goal is to reduce losses as much as possible to ensure that they are making as much of a profit as possible.

And since Walmart is one of the biggest retailers on the market, they have to deal with a fair amount of theft and shoplifting in their stores. Because of the frequency of theft and shoplifting at Walmart, the company has specific protocol and prevention measures in place to make sure they find and deter shoplifters in their stores.

As a big company, Walmart uses a lot of different methods to track shoplifting. It can be hard to wrap your head around all their techniques, but that’s why we’re here.

In this guide, we’ll be looking at the different ways and methods Walmart tracks shoplifters. On top of that, we’re also looking at what happens if a person is caught shoplifting at Walmart, how long the company has to press charges, and even if Walmart calls the police on shoplifters.

So, if you’ve been trying to figure out the exact details of Walmart’s shoplifting policy, you’ve come to the right place.

Read on to learn more.

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How Does Walmart Catch Shoplifters?

Walmart Store 2

Currently, Walmart employs a bunch of measures to prevent and catch shoplifters. An average Walmart Supercenter can be around 180,000 square feet. To monitor such a large area, Walmart can’t just use one technique.

So, you can find a variety of security measures at Walmart, such as security tags on some items, security cameras, and even AI cameras to make sure that any potential theft is caught on camera.

Theft and shoplifting are already a normal occurrence at Walmart. However, theft rose at Walmart when they introduced self-checkout lanes as customers had a greater opportunity to sneak items into their bags without scanning them.

So, Walmart uses Everseen’s AI camera technology at the self-checkout counters to prevent theft. These cameras are placed around the self-checkout area and use AI technology to capture shoplifters.

These cameras work by watching the items, not the person. So, if ever a product is placed in a bag without scanning beforehand, the camera recognizes that and alerts the security department.

From there, associates will go to the area to sort out the issue. While this system is designed to catch thieves, there are times when people accidentally bag items without scanning them first, and the system is also designed to prevent these mistakes.

What Happens When Someone Gets Caught Shoplifting At Walmart?

Man hides bottle of alcohol under his shirt

Walmart’s current policy for shoplifters caught in their stores is to press charges. Depending on your state and location, the penalty for shoplifting may vary. However, if a person gets caught at Walmart, they can potentially face charges against them that end up on their permanent record.

On top of that, Walmart is far less likely to drop the shoplifting charges than other retailers. This strict policy against shoplifting is designed to deter crime in their stores and keep customers and the products safe.

With that said, there may be times Walmart can drop the charges or decide not to press any charges at all. However, keep in mind that this is largely the exception and not the norm. So, it isn’t safe to assume that the manager at Walmart won’t press charges.

Aside from the state you were in when you got caught, the punishment for shoplifting can also vary depending on the value of the product you stole and your age. Most of the time, people caught shoplifting who are under the age of 16 are just told to return the items and leave the store.

How Long Does Walmart Have To Press Charges For Shoplifting?

Legally, Walmart stores have up to two years after catching a shoplifter to press charges. So, that means people caught for shoplifting at Walmart may not receive the charges right away and can have charges pressed against them two years after they committed the crime.

In most cases, Walmart doesn’t press charges right away. However, the average time it takes for Walmart to press charges against shoplifters is around two months.

How Much Money Does Walmart Lose To Theft?

Walmart Store 1

Walmart reportedly loses around $3 billion annually to theft in their stores. Since Walmart receives over $300 billion in annual revenue, this accounts for over 1% of the company’s total revenue.

Since Walmart loses a large sum of money every year due to theft, they have many different systems in place to catch shoplifters. So, before attempting to steal something from Walmart, keep in mind that there is a high chance they can catch people who attempt to steal from their store, and they will press charges if you are caught.

How Long Does Walmart Keep Shoplifting Records?

This depends on the severity of the crime. Usually, Walmart won’t hold shoplifting records forever, especially for small theft. However, they will likely send photos of the perpetrator to different Walmart locations in the area and tell the store to keep an eye on that individual.

If a person enters a Walmart location after they have been caught shoplifting, the associates may recognize the individual and ask them to leave. If a person committed a felony at Walmart, there would likely be a written record of the event that the store will hold on to for a long while.


Walmart doesn’t take theft lightly. Since the company loses a significant amount of money every single year to theft in their stores, they have many measures in place to prevent it from happening. On top of that, if they catch people shoplifting in their stores, they usually press charges, especially if the person is above 16.

Walmart may potentially drop the charges against a person. However, this is not the usual protocol and only happens in select situations. Additionally, people caught shoplifting at Walmart are usually barred from entering other Walmart locations in their area.

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Arthur Beringer

Arthur graduated in 2002 with a Master's in Business Administration from LSU Alexandria. After working in the retail industry for almost 20 years, he decided to quit and write full-time to help readers who are searching online for consumer-related answers.