Safety In Numbers

East Coast Fraud & Risk Management Group


SHOPLIFTING-What Retailers Can Do To Prevent Theft

Posted on 17 October, 2016 at 21:55

Darrell Smith CFE, ARM, CIM, FCSI

Shoplifters- The National Retail Federation reports that one out of every ten shoppers attempts to shoplift. There are three categories of shoplifters:
1. The average amateur shoplifter who accounts for 75% of the arrests.
2. The full-time amateur shoplifter who accounts for 20% of the arrests.
3. The professional shoplifter who accounts for 5% of the arrests.

Common Characteristics of a shoplifter:
  • Often carries a bag or backpack into the store.
  • Appears nervous or startled when approached.
  • Constantly looks around.
  • Watches your actions more than anything else.
  • Bluntly refuses assistance from store personnel.
  • Is not concerned with the price, size or colour of selected merchandise.
  • Moves merchandise from one location to another.
  • Diverts employees' attention while others steal.
  • Carries own clothing to conceal store merchandise.
  • Wears clothes that are out of season, such as coats or sweatshirts when its hot outside.
The Amateur Shoplifter: The amateur usually prefers the busier times when the store is full, and customers and employees are occupied. Many amateurs prefer the seclusion of fitting rooms or corners of the store. The amateur's actions are not premeditated, but if an opportunity presents itself, the shopper succumbs to the temptation. This is called "impulse stealing". Since they don't know themselves that they may steal, neither will you and so this makes them difficult to catch.

The Full-time Amateur Shoplifter: These are the people that your employees say, "We know these people steal". These people have a prior history of shoplifting convictions, and account for 20% of those apprehended. They're typically a well-dresses young adult. The difference between these people and the everyday citizen shoplifter is the motive.

The Professional Shoplifter: These are the real "pro's" that make up a small 5% of those that are arrested for stealing. They steal for one reason only, and that's money. The professional likes to work when employees are least alert, and are early bird, lunchtime, shift change, or last minute shoppers. Most of these people work in pairs and are well dressed and, needless to say, well trained. They are also often habitual drug users who support their habit from shoplifting your merchandise.

Shoplifting Prevention Pointers:

  • Provide good customer service
  • Speak to the customer when they come in the door
  • Provide good cash register service, it should be fast and efficient
  • Teach employees to constantly look around and watch people wandering
  • Never turn your back on a customer
  • Pay special attention to display and layout of merchandise. High priced items near the cash register where employees can see them
  • Install security mirrors
  • Video cameras
  • Special locking display cases

The best thing you and your employees can do to prevent theft, is provide exceptional customer service to customers. When shoplifters enter your store, they want privacy. When you acknowledge them and continue to monitor them. They have lost their privacy and will go somewhere else where the staff is not as alert.

Categories: Retail Loss Prevention

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17:34 on 29 May, 2018 
Safty in your hands and you need to secure your self from those things which harm you. You doing good work by providing the tips for it.
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11:39 on 6 October, 2018 
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7:57 on 28 December, 2018 
Robbers are extremely dangerous for shop keepers and for other purchasers as robbers are making the life of people sadder. They should be punished too much from police otherwise they’ll increase their gangs in big cities to damage the people.
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14:01 on 22 February, 2019 
In my opinion, we cannot help it if there are some people who will do bad deeds just to attend to their needs. There are people who will still do bad things even though they are well educated about the consequences that can happen to them if they continue or if they start to do illegal things. I think the best thing to do is to improve the security system of your business. And for the government, do your best in providing decent jobs for your countrymen. But of course it takes two to tango, so the bad people should also exert their efforts to escape from the bad things that they keep on doing.
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12:22 on 1 April, 2019 
I'm just glad that I found yours.
6:40 on 30 November, 2019 
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