I work as a Sales Specialist and on more than one occasion I have come across anti-shoplifting devices that have been removed from merchandise. I have located wraps that were unlocked and hidden behind other merchandise. I have found security boxes that were unlocked and the merchandise was missing. In one particular incident a very expensive set of printer cartridges had been taken and a check of inventory counts verified this. Since I have an extensive Loss Prevention background I was certain one of two things took place. A shoplifter had access to a security detachment key or an employee had stolen the goods because they would have access to the keys. It is a sad fact that many stores do not properly secure Sensormatic security system keys or detachment tools. They are often left in an easy to access location next to a cash register or portable keys are left lying on counter tops by careless employees.
It would be easy to say the ink cartridge theft was just an inside job or the work of a dishonest employee but I know of other stores that have had similar problems. My daughter works for a clothing retailer that uses Sensormatic security system products and she has found multiple wraps and tags that have been removed from merchandise. She is meticulous in keeping her departments straight and one evening she had straightened an area and returned an hour or so later and found a duffle bag that had a lot of tags in it. Each one had been opened or unlocked not forcibly removed from products. Based on how busy she said her store was that night there would not have been sufficient time for an employee to steal that much merchandise, it had to be a shoplifter.
Retail anti-shoplifting devices do provide protection from shoplifting and even employee theft. I have used these security products myself to minimize the possibility of thieves pilfering our merchandise. I can say from my many years of Loss Prevention experience that stores that properly use merchandise protection devices see a significant reduction in merchandise shrinkage. By proper use I mean attaching devices the right way and securing the detachment tools/keys properly. One example I can think of is the Sensormatic security systems Ultra-Gator Manual Handheld Detacher. The detacher itself is portable if need be and can be used by an employee on the salesfloor while stocking apparel and they put a tag on incorrectly. It saves time over going to the register or point of sale to detach a tag. The problem is some employees get careless and leave the detachers lying around. They may place it on their work cart and leave it unattended as they go on a break. That leaves the detacher vulnerable to a crook who then picks it up and uses it in any store that uses Sensormatic tags.
For a merchandise protection program to be truly effective not only must the merchandise in a store be properly tagged to secure them but the removal devices themselves must be secured. At the point of sale these units can usually be screwed to the counter to prevent someone from picking them up and walking off with them. Several of the Sensormatic devices have a lock to prevent unauthorized use when a register is unattended. In the case of handheld devices there are a couple of ideas I have. If employees have a work cart as a mobile workstation, attach a lock box where devices can be stored while the employee goes on a break. The alternative is to require devices to be checked in and out at a central location every time the detacher is needed. If there is no electronic article surveillance protection on the detachment tool, attach lanyard and a Sensormatic hard tag to the unit.
Anti-shoplifting programs that incorporate Sensormatic products are a sure way to improve profits through reduced theft. It is important that proper tagging procedures and methods are in place. It is just as important that a store is protecting the devices that make the system so effective. Protect your detachment tools to help yourself and other stores that use Sensormatic products as well.
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