In Parts 1 and 2 I discussed the problem clothing security when merchants have to combat opportunistic shoplifters and Organized Retail Crime rings. We discussed the international reach some of these groups can have in their theft activity. We also looked at the difficulty retailers can have in distinguishing between opportunists and professional shoplifters. Does it make a difference to identify one versus the other? In our examples of Organized crime we saw the impact on one national chain and how they are getting hit for thousands of dollars in theft on multiple incidents and in different parts of the nation. I pointed out that the anti-theft tactics of retail stores has to be multi-layered. It starts with the cultivation of a strong customer service focus. Employees must actively seek out and interact with shoppers. With a very few rare exceptions thieves do not want to be seen or assisted. Anonymity gives them the cover they need to steal.
The use of electronic article surveillance and Sensormatic tags is the next layer of protection. Shoplifters would prefer to steal clothing that has no security device on it. Anti-theft tags pose the risk of alarm activations and they require some means of removal if the clothes they are on are lifted successfully from a store. I did mention in the earlier articles that professional theft rings may use booster bags that are intended to defeat electronic article surveillance devices but Sensormatic tags provide the ultimate protection since they are not affected by these theft tools.
The next layer of anti-theft protection a store can incorporate is training to prevent shoplifting. You can use clothing security tags to prevent theft but if your store management team and employees have not received training to stop shoplifting then you are not doing all you can to put a stop to crime. You may think you are training your managers to ensure all customers are receiving customer service but I am here to tell you that is not enough. To truly take steps to address shoplifting a store owner has to have a team trained in all aspects of theft prevention. If you can do that you will deter the casual crook and the professional pilferer. The in-depth training I am alluding to does not come from the novice but a business built around helping retailers improve shortage results and increase profits.
Loss Prevention Systems, Inc. (LPSI) specializes in retail theft prevention offering everything from clothing security options to store risk assessments and a wide range of training options. With LPSI’s services, a retail owner can schedule live, in-person training seminars, live webinar training, emailed Loss Prevention tips and online monthly newsletters with articles from experienced Loss Prevention Professionals. Did you know there are proper ways to respond to electronic article surveillance alarm activations? Are you aware that an anti-theft system that is not functioning properly can become a liability to your customer service efforts and they can also impact the effectiveness of a system? There are best practices for the placement of Sensormatic tags on clothing; do you know what those best practices are? Do you and your team know how to identify common characteristics of shoplifters? Do you know the differences between Organized Retail Crime organizations and opportunistic shoplifters? Do you and your team know how to deter each and when it is appropriate to contact police about suspicious activity? LPSI can train your staff on all of these issues and how they can stay safe in the process.
Since this series on clothing security has been about Organized Retail Crime and training I want to give a word of caution to store managers and owners. Shoplifting is not a “victimless crime” and in cases involving organized theft rings it can be dangerous. Some of the people involved can be extremely aggressive. If you take the steps I have outlined in these articles you will enhance clothing security (and the security of other merchandise) while keeping your employees safe. Above all else, THAT should be your number one priority.
For more information on clothing security contact us or call 1.866.914.2567