The latest word was that the Big Lots discount outlet 3315 Northgate Boulevard is closing for “safety reasons.” However, a call to the store manager led to assurances that lease options, not safety, is the reason for closing the store. A Dec. 4 Natomas Buzz article suggested that safety might be the problem because of rising crime throughout the Sacramento area.
Big Lots is highly popular for a wide array of products at steeply discounted prices. A call to a manager, named “Terry” confirmed the news that there is no relocation plan for the Northgate store. This will be an unlikely hardship since tere are four other Big Lots outlets in the Sacramento area.
The Watt/El Camino, West Sacramento, Woodland and Watt/La Rivera Stores will remain open. There is also good news for the store employees who will all be offered positions at other stores, leading to expectations that no jobs will be lost.
The safety issue that was initially cited as the reason for the closure is not confined to the Northgate area or any particular area in Sacramento. The rise in violent crime throughout the region places too much demand on Sacramento County Sheriff and Police Department resources.
The problem is with a tight budget and the need to give violent crime the highest priority. The Sacramento County District Attorney raised the petty theft prosecution threshold to $900 unless the thief has prior convictions. This places a burden on merchants, like Big Lots, who deal with petty thefts all the time and in all areas of the city.
In the end, while a safety problem is not the main reason for the Big Lots store closure, it does bring up public safety as a rising concern for the whole area.