When we talk about retail theft prevention the first thing that comes to mind is a strategy that includes closed circuit television equipment and security personnel (uniformed and undercover). Sometimes people will think of securing product by locking it up in showcases or using electronic article surveillance equipment from a company such as Checkpoint Systems. It might also consist of store layouts, how areas may be corralled to limit access and prevent merchandise from leaving that specific area. In Part 1 I began by walking down memory lane and I talked about how I matured and grew in my perspective on partnerships, theft prevention and some of the influences that changed my perspective. I also discussed how building relations with vendors helped me to build important relationships with local police that proved mutually beneficial to the department and my store. It is this building of relationships that I want to focus on as one strategy for a strong retail theft prevention program.
Retail theft prevention should always be a multifaceted program. Each of the strategies I spoke of in the introduction are important to a well-rounded approach to reduce theft and stock shortage. While protecting merchandise is an important piece of that strategy including careful placement of cameras and mirrors, installing EAS towers from Checkpoint Systems at the front doors and using anti-theft devices to prevent shoplifting, there are other things managers can do to enhance shortage reduction efforts. This includes the creation of employee awareness programs, use of pre-employment screenings and what has become one of my favorite strategies, building external relationships.
As a Loss Prevention Manager, the company I worked for helped to sponsor an annual event with police departments nationwide. The events were community gatherings focusing on efforts to build community relations and strengthen crime watch groups to reduce crime. Our store was so successful that we received requests for assistance from communities 15 or 20 miles away from our store that heard about the program and wanted to participate. Our store team sent representatives to three areas to represent our company. While I have no numbers to prove it impacted shortage reduction directly, I do believe our participation grew our company brand recognition and helped drive sales, which is one way to drive down shrink as a percent to sales.
Our store also had Christmas events in which local schools would have choirs come and sing and students would help with gift wrapping for seniors. I would take advantage of these events to provide tours of my security office for the kids. The looks on their faces was priceless as they saw most of our camera views and saw a demonstration of how a camera could zoom in and read a license plate on a car in the parking lot. When I let them try the camera controls you would have thought they had a new video game unit, it was fun to watch. You may wonder how this would have enhanced a retail theft prevention program. My feeling is that by educating these children early they will be less likely to steal as they get older, remembering what they learned.
I earlier mentioned the vendor relations I built with Checkpoint Systems and my CCTV vendor, but one other relationship that was extremely helpful was one I developed with the site supervisor of the company that was in charge of a major store remodel we went through. By working closely with him and his team, I was able to bring to his attention concerns I had with building security issues as the project progressed. There were workers that would try to bypass our security checks of tool boxes and equipment when they left. There were times when I would find unsecured doors or access ways when work in an area was complete for a day. I had the support of the site manager to challenge his supervisors and workers when I found security concerns. What was the result of this partnership? All I heard before the remodel was how inventory shortage always goes out the roof for the inventory that follows. Our inventory results remained well under 1%, in line with prior year results.
The old saying goes, there is no “I” in team. The same is true for retail theft prevention. Build relationships with your store team members, vendors, community and police departments and the pay-off will show in reduced shortage results.
Retail theft prevention is important and we can help you with it. Call 1.866.914.2567 and let’s talk.