‘You Are Trespassing’ loudspeaker annoys neighbors, highlights Burlington retail theft problem

Walgreens in downtown Burlington. Security system not shown. NASInvestmentsolutions.com photo credit

By Michael Bielawski
This week the media has been abuzz over the sudden introduction of automated loudspeaker messages at Walgreens on Cherry Street in downtown Burlington.  This occurs as at least one voice representing Vermont’s retail sector again is warning that there needs to be more prosecution for these types of crimes.

As reported in Seven Days by Courtney Lamdin, the camera/speaker system blurts out “You are trespassing! Please leave the area … This area is under video surveillance, and you have been recorded.” Neighbors are reportedly irritated by the announcements that persist at random hours of the night. One grumped on social media: “you really going to stand by a wildly overpriced system that does almost nothing to prevent theft while also KEEPING THE RESIDENTS OF THE [Ronald MacDonald’s] CANCER HOUSE up all night?? What a trash company focused on the shareholders pockets over the care of the community.”

CNBC reported earlier this month about how Walgreens and other major retailers are using new surveillance technologies.

“Major retailers like Walmart, Target, Home Depot, and Walgreens are using artificial intelligence (AI) in combination with anti-theft technology to combat organized retail theft, which has been on the rise in recent years,” it states.

It continues, “These retailers are teaming up with technology companies to deploy AI-powered video surveillance, facial-recognition cameras, license-plate and vehicle readers, autonomous security robots, RFID tags, and predictive analytic software. The goal is to deter criminals and make theft less appealing, preventing them from even attempting to commit crimes.”

The Vermont Retail and Grocers Association

Erin Sigrist, president of the Vermont Retail and Grocers Association, told VDC Friday morning the retail theft problem is serious in Burlington – and also statewide. 

“So retail theft continues to be a major issue for Burlington but also almost every town across the state,” Sigrist said. “There’s a significant lack of prosecution, there’s a low number of law enforcement and we have to acknowledge this year’s loss of morale in that sector due to the disappearing support for law enforcement.”

She said that the burden of dealing with this situation has largely fallen on the retailers.“And in return, the responsibility has ultimately and solely fallen on retailers to take steps to keep their employees and their customers safe and the products on the shelves,” she said. “Retail theft in America is now a $70 billion industry, and we need our state’s attorneys to step up and start prosecuting these crimes. We need the legislature to acknowledge their part.”

She suggested that there needs to be a more holistic approach to solving this situation.“But so far the individual efforts to make things better for a single population instead of an entire population hasn’t necessarily been a holistic approach and way to heal our communities,” she said. “Retail theft is a major issue and it continues to increase and it’s rather disconcerting for retailers across the state.”

The city has been struggling with high crime rates recently. The police chief’s report in July indicated that a handful of categories for serious crimes including assault, burglary, car theft, and overdoses are up substantially for the year. VDC reported on the rising crimes.

Over the weekend there were more crimes, including a man who was intentionally hit by a car on Sunday and there were two shootings reported on Saturday.

Other major retailers are experiencing increased thefts. A report by TheStreet.com from Tuesday reveals that nationwide other major retailers are reporting increased thefts. Walmart and Target are highlighted in this report.

“Two of the largest brick-and-mortar retailers in the U.SWalmart [and Target] have expressed concern about the growth of shoplifting — and with it, the dwindling supplies for purchase. This cuts into store chains’ bottom lines and instills fear in honest customers, oftentimes forcing them to go elsewhere for common goods or groceries,” it states.

The author is a reporter for Vermont Daily Chronicle.

Categories: Burlington

15 replies »

  1. Sad situation for our stores in Burlington and across the state and country, everyone who shops is affected by rising costs and store closings. The mentality of the criminal doesn’t care especially when our low IQ government officials keep passing laws to protect them from accounability! My suggestion would be for stores to band together and hire a private security company with armed guards and attack dogs, but I’m sure that our officials wouldn’t allow for a criminal to get bit in the ass!

  2. Two years ago now, my brand new truck with 22k miles failed inspection because of “rust” that accumulated on the rotor from sitting during the pandemic. I was quoted $1200 for full replacement. So did I do it and get legal? Heck no. Why would I? I haven’t seen the cops pull anyone over in my town in probably years. I’m still driving everywhere.
    This is just an example of “social decay” from an otherwise honest and law abiding person- imagine what the criminals are saying (doing) right now.

    • Even tbe DMV refused to enforce the non inspected vehicles on my street when asked!! THX to our social justice warrior justice system in Vt…THX boornie mittens sanders for turning Vt into to a socialist state.

  3. I found it highly amusing, highly… with this comment on social media: “you really going to stand by a wildly overpriced system that does almost nothing to prevent theft while also KEEPING THE RESIDENTS OF THE [Ronald MacDonald’s] CANCER HOUSE up all night?? What a trash company focused on the shareholders pockets over the care of the community.”
    This commentor completely misses the mark here. The mark is, theft and vandalism, crime are on the rise because no one is stopping it and if perchance they do get stopped, they are not prosecuted.
    HELLO…. anyone home in there???
    That commentor should be talking to their city council or selectboard. Not blaming the company, or the police. The utter stupidity of people never fails to astound me.

  4. The incompatibility between businesses and their residential neighbors is the result of our progressive Vermont planning geniuses and their “mixed use development” strategies. It is the complete opposite of common-sense zoning. The history of this philosophy goes way back in Burlington when, as an example, quaint progressives ok’d converting an old warehouse on the waterfront into high-end condos. Then the occupants demanded that any concerts on the waterfront with amplified music have to wind down at 10pm so their poofy dogs can sleep. In the world of progressives, the “little people” must win out over any profit-making venture, even if hundreds of people are being entertained in a popular public space. Rock on, Burlington…the peoples’ utopia.

  5. I bet that’s GREAT for bidness… dumb and dumber.
    How to drive off customers:
    “I don’t trust you. You wear a yellow star. You are different. You don’t believe what I believe. YOU ARE TRESPASSING.”
    Pretty soon those Fema camps are going to start filling up with the ‘undesireable shoppers.’
    Don’t forget to check the mirror for your ‘PC dress code’ before you go shopping.
    I would never patronize a business who did this or discriminated in any way against any group of people no matter what they look like or how they ID.

    Remember before desgregation?
    Rememeber when gays, known, were shown the door of businesses?
    Remember… or maybe you’d rather fogetaboutit.

    • So you are equating criminals to Jews and gay people. Interesting yet odd argument. As for “You don’t believe what I believe. YOU ARE TRESPASSING”. Is it off putting to you that someone may not only believe in stealing from others but also wants to prevent themselves from being a victim of theft? What a bunch of selfish ultra MAGA Republicans for not sharing.

      • Propaganda works. The decades of planning to divide and conqure is working. While the despots toil behind the scenes creating bioweapons, false flags, waging lawfare on citizens, taxing us into proverty, funnelling money into foreign banks into their bank accounts, poison our food, air, and water; they are laughing hysterically at us. Meanwhile, we attend bread and circus events, wear masks, get boosted, slander each other, and willfully feed that beast plotting our destruction. Carry on and have a nice day!

    • Listen swordofanarchy, John Adams is credited with stating “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.”
      Hence, Vermont and a number of other choice areas within the USA are in a state of deep decay after nearly 250 years of thriving as part of an accomplished and successful nation.
      While you may enjoy the lawlessness and amorality of what is going down in Burlington, the majority of Americans do not, and thievery, drug abuse & dealing, and violence are not how we the people intend to live.
      Trespass is a criminal offense as is stealing. And businesses & citizens, in general, have every right to thwart such crime and defend against it.
      Want “reparations” given out? Start digging into your own pockets. Relocating to inner Chicago or Baltimore might be for you too!
      Most others don’t want to play your Marxism games.

  6. Keep voting the left into office and it will only get worse.

    You get what you vote for.

  7. What we are witnessing are symptoms of the rejection of God in our society. These are the End Times. Be prepared and look to Jesus. It is by Grace, a free gift from God, Faith in Jesus, who knew no sin, who paid the price of our sin (you, me and everyone). Not one person could ever pay this price, through works or any other way, lest anyone boast. No one can enter Heaven with their sin showing. Jesus paid the Bill – It is paid in full “It is Finished!”- John 19:30. Jesus came to forgive sin. He was marred beyond recognition, crucified and on the 3rd Day Resurrected to eternal life. He is now at the right hand of the Father in Heaven, and will soon come back for his Church, His people who Believe upon Him. Be Rapture Ready, Be Heaven Ready. Eternity is forever. Heaven and Hell are real. Hell is not a keg party, music, a pool and card games, it is wailing and gnashing of teeth, complete and utter darkness separated from God. Open your heart to Jesus today if you don’t know Him. Come as you are, there is no other way. Pray a simple prayer and ask Jesus to come into your Heart, Believe, Accept and ask forgiveness of your sin. Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” It is the act of going from your way to God’s Way. Jesus paid the price for you to be washed as white as snow. Today is the Day of Salvation. Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool”. Psalm 103:12 “As far as the east is from the west,So far has He removed our transgressions from us”. The Problem is Sin. The Answer is Jesus. Only God can change hearts. John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”