Home » Retail »South City » Currently Reading:

Flashing Lights Outside Walgreen’s

February 5, 2009 Retail, South City 29 Comments

Last night, as I was at the light at Chippewa & Hampton (map) I noticed annoying flashing lights on both street facades at the Walgreen’s.  I had noticed these before but this time they really struck me.  I presume the purpose is to get folks to look toward the flashing light and thus toward the security cameras.


Or just plain tacky.  The big parking lots for the Walgreen’s stores are bad enough.  Plus the fact they are on every corner it seems.  Still these flashing lights, of all things, are more than I cam stand.


Currently there are "29 comments" on this Article:

  1. Gregg says:

    The flashes are so when the camera takes pictures, it can capture what’s going on without blur, I would think.

    I hate them, too. It makes you think a car you didn’t see is driving by or something. Same thing with some of the red light cameras in the area.

  2. Jason says:

    Isn’t there some sort of ordinance against flashing lights like this? I see them all the time on walgreens, doesnt mean its right. I also am annoyed by the flashing lights and signs in the windows of pawn shops, and quick cash places too. I am sure there has to be an ordinance, but who is going to enforce it?

  3. Chris says:

    I think the purpose of the flashing lights is to draw attention to them, so theoretically criminals will keep moving to somewhere else.

  4. Tim says:

    Why is this site so negative? Seems like security would be a good idea. Everytime I come here there is a lot of complaining about stuff. If your spouting off about flashing security cam lights at a walgreens you need to find something to do with all that extra time.

    Did you call walgreens and inquire about the lights?

  5. Mary says:

    Complaining about complaining. There’s irony in there somewhere.

  6. Dustin Bopp says:

    ^It’s simply another quality of life issue that creates a negative impression and is just annoying. Just as we have community standards for noise, signage, etc., this may fall under light trespass. At the very least it is distracting, but in my experience not nearly so as the red light camera strobes which I would argue are dangerous. I don’t run red lights — ever — but the flash still startles me. I am not sure any accident could be attributed to strobes (Walgreens or red light cameras) and I want people who break the law to be caught, but since an overwhelming majority of people obey the law I am not sure the danger is worth it.

  7. Jimmy Z says:

    Let’s all hold hands and sing Kumbaya 😉
    I agree, Walgreens should probably be asked why (and I just might). My guess is that they’re tied into some sort of alarm system (fire? theft?) and shouldn’t be flashing nearly as much as they are.
    In looking into what’s legall allowed, it appears that all parts of the city include the following restriction (or something similar) on SIGNS: “Permitted Illumination. May be illuminated but . . . shall not flash, blink or fluctuate.” The question then becomes whether or not Walgreen’s flashing light can be defined as a “sign” or whether it’s a (required?) visual alarm? If it’s an alarm device (as it likely is), there’s little that can be done to eliminate them, but there should be some requirement that they be reset / not continually be false-alarm mode . . .

  8. Ian says:

    Huh. That’s interesting. A newly erected Walgreens here in Sunnyvale, CA has a flashing white light above the security camera. It’s more like a strobe–it’s incredibly distracting, especially along a roadway. I thought it was limited to just the store I saw, and now I know it’s definitely not localized. I don’t understand the rationale for it; the camera is quite conspicuous all by itself. If they want to draw attention to the cameras, a steady light would be more than enough.

  9. SOHA Tim says:

    If you think that the flashing lights at Walgreens are distracting when driving, how about driving by Lumiere Place on I-70 and having an 8 story tall (exaggeration) LED screen flashing advertisements in your face. Everytime I drive past that sign I can’t help but look. God help the cars around me (but I’m guessing they are doing the same thing).

  10. Dennis says:

    Right on Mary!

  11. Dennis says:

    And right on SOHA Tim too!

  12. CWEGuy says:

    Does every Walgreens have them? I assumed they were only used in the “more challenging” neighborhoods. I don’t remember seeing one at the Olivette location.

    SOHA Tim’s got it right. They took one of the city’s best views of the arch–the deck of Cielo–and ruined it with an oversized television playing nothing but advertisements! It ruined my one meal there–it was incredibly distracting.

    I won’t go back.

  13. Jason says:

    Tim – If you read the “About” page, there’s a fairly obvious answer to your question about this site and “complaining”:
    “This site is an opportunity for me to share my thoughts on the St. Louis Region from an urban perspective. For the most part I focus on negative aspects – those areas where I believe we could & should do better with our resources. Don’t get me wrong – St. Louis is a great place with wonderful urban neighborhoods and incredible architecture. Our suburbs, like most suburbs, are depressing.”
    If you aren’t interested in complaints about St. Louis, or making it better, stop reading this blog!

  14. Sarah says:

    Those flashes are annoying, but the red-light flashes are dangerous. I was blinded via my rearview mirror by one the other day. It flashed twice in a row, I guess because there were two “offenders.” Either way, I was seeing spots: not a fun or safe way to drive.

  15. Chris says:

    Actually, the technology requires two pictures for each offender; they must both clearly show the offender past the stop line after the light goes red. If you only see one flash, no ticket.

  16. newsteve says:

    Ghetto . . . Tacky, C’mon Steve that seems so cliche. Once again, these are likely a response to previous lawsuits against Walgreens. While many people might not realize this if you are robbed, attacked, raped or any crime committed against you or your property you may just have a lawsuit against the property owner, like Walgreens. Of course, in order to be successful you need to prove that Walgreens, or whatever business it might be, had or should have had knowledge that a crime would be committed in your parking lot. Of course this can mean that you have had crimes on your parking lot or even that there have been crimes in your neighborhood in proximity to your business. This is not a reflection of Walgreens wanting to be ghetto or tacky, but rather is more likely a response to the litigious nature of our society and our courts saying that now we can even be responsible for crimes committed by 3rd persons who have no relationship to our property or business other than the fact that the crime happened there. Having security cameras unfortunately is a sign of the times and a way to protect oneself from multimillion dollar verdicts.

  17. Jack says:

    I am a lawyer and have never heard of a lawsuit against a store based upon the absence of a flashing light on their security cameras. The flashing light is not related to courts or lawsuits.

    I also think they have the flashing light so that criminals will notice the camera and maybe not smash a car window, rob the store, etc. Bully to them for trying to protect their property (and customers), but what if everyone decided their security operation was not complete without a flashing strobe light? It would be pandamonium out there since lots if not all businesses have security cameras.

  18. stljoie says:

    Look…if they don’t have them at the Walgreens at Grand and Gravois….why the hell would they REALLY need them at Chippewa and Hampton?!? It’s BS. It’s like the police helicopter hovering low over your neighborhood at midnight when NOTHING BAD is going on and you’re in bed for the night. I have called 911 on them!!

  19. barbara_on_19th says:

    Re: god-awful Lumiere Place signage. Whenever I drive past, or am forced to view that monstrosity from many previously pleasant vantage points on the north side, I always think “where is the Women’s Christian Temperance Union when you need them?” Awful building with migraine and seizure-inducing patterns on the light display, and the huge billboard with tacky “sexy” ads flashed dangerously at drivers on a curving highway. Who signed off on all that?

  20. samizdat says:

    ^^^Our corrupt and well-paid (off) politicians. My guess on the Wal-G strobe is that if an armed individual comes in, empties the till, and exits the front door, he’ll have a nice Candid Camera moment. It flashes constantly because, hey, ya’ never know when some mook is going to walk through the door with a gun. Plus, it would also aid in identifying any vehicle the “perp” (cop talk is funny) was driving. Personally, I would think better illumination, properly designed, would serve the same purpose. But that would cost more, and Wal-G, like most corporations these days, is cheap.

  21. southcityphoto says:

    There are the flashing lights at Grand & Gravois Walgreen’s, if I’m not mistaken, and also at Grand and Bates, and Broadway & Meramec, in addition to those on Kingshighway. It is incredibly distracting (and annoying). There must be some other way for them to accomplishe whatever the intended purpose is. As it’s set up now, it looks to me like some visual signal that the alarm is going off. The first time I saw it, I was afraid a robbery might be in progress.

    [slp — these strobes are 24/7.]

  22. Webby says:

    Looks like the city of Janesville, WI had them removed:
    Chairman Voskuil pointed out that the new Walgreen’s store has strobe lights above it’s security cameras. She also commented that she has received complaints from citizens regarding increased RV traffic in the Wal-mart parking lot. She asked that staff investigate these items.
    And two weeks later:
    Cantrell stated that the new Walgreens has been given 30 days to remove the strobe light on their outdoor camera located at the corner of Kettering Street and STH 26. They have indicated that they will remove it within a week or two.

  23. Kelly says:

    Is there a separate post on that awful eye-sore Lumiere place anywhere on this site?

    [slp — No. I reviewed the link but I haven’t been able to look at this place long enough to review it.]

  24. Margie says:

    There is, or at least used to be, a City law against video/motion signage such as the Lumiere Place sign. I didn’t find it in a quick search but I know it existed as of 2003. I’d be interested in knowing what kind of variance Lumiere got (can you get a variance to a law? or just to a code?) or what law change was sponsored by whom, or if they’re breaking the law. It certainly is a traffic safety hazard.

  25. Joe Frank says:

    I think the Post-Dispatch had an article a while back that explained Lumiere Place was exempt from MoDoT regs on signage because it was an “on-site” sign.

    By comparison, about 15 years ago Alexian Brothers Hospital was sued by MoDoT to dismantle a relatively tasteful sign with an electronic reader board on a vacant lot at Pennsylvania and Walsh that happened to be ideally situated for high visibility from Northbound I-55. The sign had been permitted by the city under a zoning variance. The official blue “Hospital” sign is located adjacent to where that sign used to be. I think the hospital’s current ownership even still owns that narrow vacant strip of grass. But the big sign is long gone.

    The relevant citation from the Revised Statutes of Missouri footnotes is (1993) State ex rel. Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission v. Alexian Brothers of St. Louis, Inc., 848 S.W.2d 472 (Mo. en banc).

  26. Ben says:

    The only thing ghetto are the people using they EBT cards at these stoes.

    It’s this simple Steve, if you steal from a store they will setup increased security, or close. These big retail chains only look at raw numbers and determine if a specific store is high or low risk. While annoying, the flashing lights are necessary.

    He yo change, 43 cent.

  27. Jimmy Z says:

    If the only purpose of the flashing lights is to point out that there are security cameras, it’s a pretty lame solution, much like motion detectors on yard lights. Criminals, while not generally the brightest group, usually apparently could care less that there are security cameras, pretty much everywhere, these days. Stores would be much better off investing in higher-resolution equipment so that suspects could actually be positively identified. Most of the pictures that get put on the news are way too blurry and grainy to be of much use, and if criminals actually care about getting caught, they hide their faces before they do the crime – duh!

  28. Mesmertron says:

    The intersection of Hampton & Chippewa is now the ghetto? Wow, the ghetto sure has gotten expensive. I’m pretty sure the average house sells for around $200,000 and the rent, if you can find it, is near $800 a month. To be honest, I live in the ghetto. St.Louis Hills is like Town & Country compared to my neighborhood. But I guess it’s all relative, yeah?

  29. ed hardy clothing says:

    We'r ed hardy outlet one of the most profession
    of the coolest and latest ed hardy apparel, such as
    ed hardy tee ,ed hardy bags,
    ed hardy bathing suits, ed hardy shoes,
    ed hardy board shorts , don ed hardyt,ed hardy tank tops, ed hardy for women,
    ed hardy swimwearand more,
    ed hardy clothing. We offers a wide selection of fashion
    cheap ed hardyproducts. Welcome to our shop or just enjoy browsing through our stunning collection available wholesale ed hardy in our shop.

    our goal is to delight you with our distinctive collection of mindful ed hardy products while providing value and excellent service. Our goal is 100% customer satisfaction and we offer only 100% satisfacted service and ed hardy products. Please feel free to contact us at any time; we are committed to your 100% customer satisfaction. If you're looking for the best service and best selection, stay right where you are and continue shopping at here is your best online choice for the reasonable prices. So why not buy your ed hardy now, I am sure they we won’t let you down.


Comment on this Article: