JA Savoy Walmart gates

New 'customer access gates' are shown Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020, at the Walmart in Savoy.

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Q: What are those new gates at the Walmart in Savoy?

A: They’re “customer access gates” that are designed to deter theft, spokeswoman Anne Hatfield said. “We installed (them) at our Savoy Supercenter late last year,” she said.

They’re not at the Champaign or Urbana Walmarts.

“Customer access gates are motorized gates placed near the store entrance to deter theft by better controlling how customers enter and exit through the store,” she said. “The gates provide a single point of entry and are a strong visual deterrent to protect against theft.”

The gates can be easily walked through, opening with light pressure, and in an emergency, they open automatically, Hatfield said.

Walmart has struggled with deterring theft. Three years ago, police responded to 95 theft-related calls in a year at the Savoy location. That was less than the 153 at Urbana and 152 at Champaign.