News Article | July 31, 2019

New surveillance systems installed in desert area Walmarts

PALM DESERT, Calif. – If while shopping at Walmart in Palm Desert, Palm Springs or La Quinta, and you feel like you are being watched, more than usual, you are.

A new device is now being used to watch you, and listen to you, while in the parking lot.

Its called “Lot Cop”

“I think they’re good, why, because ideally its a deterrent against crime,” said desert visitor Robert York, while talking about the system at the Walmart in Palm Desert.

Lot Cops are now deployed at valley area Walmarts, along with other Walmarts and other big box stores around the country.

Made by Orem, Utah-based Live View Technologies, the solar-powered units feature surveillance cameras, listening capability, and a bull horn for security personnel to communicate with people in the parking lot.

“I think maybe they could put some more signage on these to let people know that it is a camera, and they are being monitored,” said York.

At 30 feet high, with flashing blue lights, they’re hard to miss.

The units are generally placed in remote areas of the parking lot, furthest away from the store.

Palm Desert resident Faith Howard is among the shoppers we spoke with at the store who support the use of the technology.

While shopping at the Palm Desert Walmart recently, she said she was followed by a man in the store, and out to the parking lot.

“I was pretty shaken up.  I haven’t been followed before, and especially out into the parking lot,” said Howard.

One shopper we spoke with, off-camera, opposed more surveillance.

We contacted a representative of Live View Technologies to learn about how Walmart was using the technology, but we were told, they could not talk about it because of a “confidentiality agreement”.

He said the Lot Cops are simply designed to “enhance safety and security”.

“I think if its in regard to our safety, i don’t have a reservation about it.  Obviously, it depends on placement of cameras,” said Howard.

Our questions for Walmart include: “Who sees and hears the images and sounds captured by the surveillance devices?”, “How is that data used?”, and, “How long is that data stored?”.

Walmart has not respond to our request for comment.

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