- Associated Press - Monday, October 6, 2014

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Police said they have received a number of nuisance calls involving a Wal-Mart in Anchorage and it has been warned about nearing the allowed limit before it would face fines and be required to come up with an action plan.

Police have responded to 80 calls this year to the Wal-Mart in midtown Anchorage, the Alaska Dispatch News reported (https://is.gd/XSWEQS ) Sunday. Most of those calls dealt with drunken people.

Lt. Garry Gilliam with the department’s Community Action Policing Team said city code limits a commercial property to 100 nuisance calls a year.

If the store goes over the limit, police would send a formal notice of violation. After that, the store could be fined $500 for each call and be required to produce a written plan to correct problems within 30 days.

Brian Nick, a spokesman for the company in Bentonville, Arkansas, confirmed the store has received such a warning and is working with police.

Gilliam said police first contacted managers about a year ago at the store located near the high-traffic thoroughfares of midtown that are frequented by panhandlers.

Gilliam said the store has not been illegally selling alcohol but managers have been encouraged to analyze selling practices.

Another goal is to have managers more aware of what is happening on the property. He described a practice when a group of drunken people would stand outside after sending in the group’s most sober-appearing person to purchase alcohol.

“They need to look a little further outside the door, see what’s happening outside on their property,” Gilliam said. “This negatively affects the neighborhood.”

Nick, the Wal-Mart spokesman, said managers are reinforcing training with employees and working directly with police.

“They have had conversations with the police about making sure all of their policies related to the sale of alcohol are being constantly reinforced and updated,” Nick said.

John Opinsky with the commercial real estate firm Frampton and Opinsky said it’s difficult to pinpoint Wal-Mart as the source of problems involving intoxicated people in the area, including public urination, loitering and people discarding garbage.

The firm manages 70 acres in the midtown area, and six months ago hired additional security personnel to drive away troublemakers.

“Whether it’s Wal-Mart, whether it’s somewhere else, we don’t know,” he said. “But the midtown vagrant problem is becoming an increasingly large issue over the last eight to 10 years.”


Information from: Alaska Dispatch News, https://www.adn.com

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