Watching What Goes Out the Door: Retail Loss Prevention
Posted by Pamela S. on Thursday, August 16th, 2012
People love to shop. It is a necessity, we all need food and other supplies. Where there is need, there is greed. Criminals take advantage of the retail trade by billions of dollars. Loss prevention specialists are no longer just floorwalkers, those investigators and security people who minded the store and lingered about in plainclothes watching for shoplifters.
Today’s loss prevention specialists do so much more than walk the floor. The role of the retail investigator or security officer has changed. Some retail malls have a larger population on many days, than some towns.
The eyes of CCTV systems now keep watch. Various types of Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) systems monitor the product. These include those sensor tags that are attached to clothing and set off an alarm if someone tries to leave the store while the tag is still attached.
Large retail operations, such as malls, department stores and grocery stores still need a human presence, whether uniformed or plainclothes, but the role of the retail investigator is evolving just like the rest of our industry. Guards and investigators are more likely to be sitting in front of a bank of screens monitoring camera systems than walking the floor.
Today’s retail security specialists are highly educated and trained in more than just catching shoplifters and controlling shrink. As technology progresses to deter theft, the criminals come up with new methods.
If you are interested in a career in retail loss prevention there are a number of options available. You can work for some of the largest retail chains in the world. Retail security and investigative staff have to be knowledgeable about compensation claims, liability issues; such as customers or staff injuries, internal theft, organized retail crime, fraud, supply chain integrity, workplace violence, e-commerce fraud and theft, data protection, crisis management and business continuity and risk management.
The perfect example of what a retail security specialist has to be prepared for was the shooting that happened on June 2, 2012, in Toronto. At one of Canada’s largest retail malls a gunman started shooting in the food court, wounding six and killing two. This could happen at any retail outlet in America. The security staff saved lives that day and prevented more people from being injured. Think about that next time you poke fun at “mall cops”.
Theft deterrence has to be conducted in such a way that it does not detract from the customer experience. No one wants to feel that they are being “spied on” or shopping in an environment where they feel that they aren’t trusted. Loss prevention specialists also have to have great customer service skills. The customer still comes first, but the customer also pays when theft isn’t prevented.
According to the FBI, organized retail crimes cost the U.S. approximately $30 billion a year.
There are a number of organizations that work to fight retail crimes of all kinds:
• The Loss Prevention Foundation (This organization has created two accredited certifications for loss prevention specialists: Loss Prevention Qualified (LPQ) and Loss Prevention Certified (LPC).
• Law Enforcement Retail Partnership Network (LERPnet)
If you want to keep up on the latest news in loss prevention, read Loss Prevention Magazine
Former FBI Assistant Director Tom Sheer has recruited the best from the FBI, DEA, IRS and Secret Service to build a formidable team at Sheer Investigations. Our private investigators have the sensitivity and experience to handle the most delicate investigations.