Sheriff’s Office holding meeting to address troublesome Walmart, bus stop off 40 Highway

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- There's a growing concern about the safety of customers and employees at a Jackson County Walmart and the area around it.

For the second straight weekend, officials are meeting with customers and neighbors near the Walmart on 40 Highway, working on a plan to make it safer.

Crime can happen for any number of reasons, but the biggest concerns of customers and business owners that FOX4 spoke with are the homeless who live around the parking lot and a nearby bus stop.

"Something needs to be done," Ed Thornton said.

In the middle of a Friday afternoon, near the Blue Ridge Crossing Walmart off 40 Highway, you'll see panhandlers at every highway ramp and large crowds of people gathered around the bus stop near the Walmart parking lot and McDonalds.

"People stand over here on the corner, people begging for money," Thornton said. "Same thing over here at the bus stop under this bridge."

It's the only time of day some Walmart customers are willing to shop there.

"I try not to come out here too late in the evening," Denise Stephens said. "This is probably as late as I care to be out around here."

"There's been a shooting at the bus stop recently and also there was a stabbing at the QuikTrip, and there's been a concern for business owners around here," said Tony Nguyen, manager of a nearby nail salon.

The Jackson County Sheriff's Office didn't release crime statistics ahead of Saturday's meeting, but in the past year, people have been stabbed inside the Walmart and shot and killed in the parking lot area around it.

Keeping track of crime is made more difficult by the fact that the Walmart is in Kansas City -- but the bus stop for it at the back of the parking lot is in Independence.

KCATA said that means their full-time transit police they employ to keep bus stops safer have no jurisdiction there.

They've asked Walmart to place the bus stop at the store so people wouldn't be walking through the parking lot, but they said the request was denied. Walmart didn't provide comment for this story and said they weren't sure if any store representatives would be at Saturday's meeting.

FOX4 also wasn't able to speak with the sheriff's office on Friday to find out why the meeting is being held at 9:30 a.m. at its headquarters -- 9 miles from the area they'll be discussing.

Regardless, customers and nearby businesses are just happy someone is looking into things.

"It's not an easy problem to fix, but as long as they're aware of it and come up with some type of solution, I think that's important," Nguyen said.

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