Crime and Target’s Punishment

Tony Perkin’s Washington Update

Families in Palatine, Illinois didn’t need to be reminded about the dangers of Target’s gender-free bathroom policy. They’re already fighting it in the local school district. And an incident in an area store is giving their side plenty of fresh ammunition. Two weeks ago, a girl at the Palatine Target told authorities she was in the changing room when she saw a cell phone under her door filming. She screamed, a local CBS affiliate reports, and the man ran away. Like the high schoolers in town who are being forced to change in front of boys as part of the city’s genderless guidance, this girl was under 18. Police are still searching for the man.

Unfortunately for the Target PR team, that was just the beginning of a string of voyeurs caught taping women in stores across the country this week. News channel WBIR in Tennessee interviewed Leigh Hamby, who was also in the women’s dressing room in a Target when she “looked in the mirror and saw something under [her] door.” She said her stomach dropped when she realized a man was taking pictures. “I feel so violated,” she said. “It’s dehumanizing in a sense that someone feels they can come into my dressing room and take something that doesn’t belong to them. It’s a violating and humiliating feeling.” And tragically, Leigh wasn’t the only one. Authorities looked through surveillance tapes and found the man peeping on several women.

At a Delaware Target on Friday, a man committed what police called “lewd acts” in front of female customers. “The potential dangers of a person committing such acts is what they are potentially building up to,” Cpl. Mark Hoffman warned. “The acts by this suspect may have been a way for him to build up courage or confidence to commit more severe crimes, sexually-related.” For Target, it’s just another day in the life of a floundering business. With stories like these piling up almost faster than the retailer can stock their shelves, it’s no wonder customers are staying away. They understand that while Target may offer a lot of things, privacy and safety isn’t one of them.