Raging Retail? Recent Report Ranks States by Risk of Violence from Black Friday

FJ Thomas

Sarasota, FL (WorkersCompensation.com) – A report ranking states by risk of violence during Black Friday was recently released by Reviews.org. Also included in the report were the employers that have the most incidents during Black Friday. The report utilized crime rate per capita, previous history of incidents on Black Friday, and the perceived interest of buyers of sales. The number of Black Friday incidents included occurrences that were reported by the news and reported to police.

The top five states that had the highest potential for crime are all southern states. Arkansas, Tennessee, West Virginia, North Carolina, and Alabama were the top five states with the highest potential for violence on the biggest sale day of the year. The five safest states were Vermont, Oregon, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Although California has a high crime rate and the highest number of Black Friday incidents (and even two deaths), the crimes per capita were not high enough to put the state in the top five. Additionally, North Carolina had the highest chance per capita for violence and West Virginia had the highest sales search ranking.

Walmart made the top of the list of stores with criminal events. In fact, they had more incidents than all other stores combined.

Walmart – 57.1 percent

Malls – 17.9 percent

Toys R Us – 7.1 percent

Target – 7.1 percent

Best Buy – 7.1 percent

Kohls – 3.6 percent

The report also ranked the type of incident or injuries that have occurred.

Trampling – 30 percent

Shooting – 26.7 percent

Automobile – 16.7 percent

Stabbing – 13.3 percent

Pepper Spray – 6.7 percent

Fighting – 6.7 percent

In 2008, 34-year-old Walmart employee Jdimytai Damour was trampled to death in Valley Stream, NY during Black Friday when the crowd waiting on the doors to open had grown to 2,000, according to the New York Times.

An employee by the first name Augustine had recounted that, “It got scary out of nowhere….The crowd in the back just pushed.” Earlier in the day, Damour had told a fellow co-worker, “I don’t want to be here.”

Kimberly Cribbs, a shopper at the time, recounted the horrific incident and casual response of some of the crowd: “When they were saying they had to leave, that an employee got killed, people were yelling, ‘I’ve been in line since yesterday morning,’”per the Seattle Times.

According to a recent K98.5 Radio article out of Waterloo, Iowa and data from Black Friday Death Count, 2018 was an active year. In Alabama, a 27-year-old man was shot and killed, and two others were injured. In Memphis, Tennessee a man was shot at a mall. An altercation resulting in a stabbing occurred at the Macy’s Department Store in Syracuse, New York. In New Jersey, a man was shot between the Marshall’s Department Store and Tommy Hilfiger. Then also in Ontario, Canada, a man was shot in a mall parking lot.

Per Ranker.com, these are just a few examples of frenzied crowd behavior. In their list of Worst Injuries and Deaths, there are several incidents of trampling and shooting deaths, and people left unassisted in the rush to get items first.

In preparation for Black Friday for several years, OHSA has issued reminder letters regarding crowd control and safety. This year OHSA sent out a notification reminding employers to be mindful of worker safety and pay. Included in this year’s notice was information regarding Crowd Management Safety Guidelines for Retailers with common facts and tips on making it through the holiday season.

Check back to WorkersCompensation.com for more coverage on this topic, and the dangers retailers face on the job during the holiday season.

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