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Focus turns to security upgrades for new Walmart

Proposed safety measures will impact residents of Vine City and AUC students

Photo Credit: Creative Loafing


Atlanta Police plan to keep the residents of Vine City safe with the implementation of the substation within the nearby Walmart Neighborhood Market. The Vine City/AUC Walmart had been under construction since an alleged arson incident in 2022, and had its grand reopening Wednesday morning on May 22.

Now that the construction is over, Walmart will flood with people from the neighborhood and the surrounding areas, so safety is more important than ever.


“I think it is an excellent tool that will be vital for the community. Community policing is very key in this day and age,” says Officer Brown, a fifth-year CAU security guard. While the specific details have not been released, a city officer will be stationed there during store hours.

One of the purposes of the new security measure is to deter potential shoplifters. Another is to make shoppers feel protected without being overly regulated.

“I'll see metal detectors and all that stuff in stores where they have just as much stealing. So, I don't think [over regulation] would be a good idea,” Officer Brown explains. "But, if they put the police department there it will also assist with that crowd.”

Another CAU security guard, Officer Towns, had a similar perspective about alternative measures, saying, “I don't know if you can get any better than having a small police precinct right next door.” The particular implementations will be decided by the Atlanta Police Department and Atlanta City Council in the coming months.


Since the closing of the Vine City Walmart, surrounding communities have had to find other means of getting groceries. The nearest grocery store is 3.7 miles away, as opposed to this Walmart which is within walking distance of campus. Students in the AUC have had to find transportation to another supermarket or DoorDash for their groceries.

“I feel like it would help save more money, especially since I’m paying for delivery fees when I order [groceries] from Amazon,” says sophomore Iyana M. on how this Walmart could make things more convenient for students.

Iyana M. continued that a police substation could make it “safer for college students” considering the history of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, where the Walmart is located. She also mentioned how young women may feel safer with additional security presence in the area.

Because of past strife between law enforcement and people of color in this area, many are bracing for how the new security measures will land with the community. “With security, we're always watchful and making sure that something bad doesn't happen. But, you also have those officers that do take it too far. It's just this thin line that you straddle," says Officer Brown. "I honestly think that public safety and security is key and vital to everyone, whoever you are.”


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