LP Magazine

JUL-AUG 2018

LP magazine publishes articles for loss prevention, asset protection, and retail professionals covering shrinkage, investigations, shoplifting, internal theft, fraud, technology, best practices, and career development.

Issue link: http://digital.lpportal.com/i/1004777

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Page 16 of 68

A fter hearing loss prevention leaders describe recent efforts to enhance the security of their stores after closing, it becomes immediately clear that the long, delicate dance between burglars and security continues. There is change, certainly, such as in the drivers of nighttime risk, with organized gangs, the opioid crisis, ATMs, and enhanced residential security raising the threat of retail store break-ins, and in the increasing availability and affordability of tools to protect stores, including remote video surveillance, more robust locks and other physical protection, and better overnight visibility through more feature-rich alarm or access control systems. But while risk and security have both evolved, the push and pull between opposing forces seems the same as it has ever been. Burglars look for retail victims that have what they want and offer a way to get it; LP executives button up their stores enough to dissuade them within strict financial confines. This is why LP stories offer useful instruction. They indicate how retailers balance protection and budget; what LP leaders are selecting from today's security menu; and what they've found useful—or not—to thwart nighttime adversaries. While any LP case study necessarily relates to a retailer's specific threats, risk, and vulnerability, they all suggest avenues for beating overnight criminals to the punch—or at least countering their schemes more quickly and efficiently. It's vital intelligence because in the dance to protect stores after they close, it's better to lead than to follow. Where Do We Stand? Unfortunately, as an industry, retailers might currently be on their back feet. FBI data indicate that while residential homes have never been safer from burglars, the same is not true for retail stores and other commercial establishments. Perhaps as a result of the availability and popularity of Internet-connected home security technology, there was a substantial 7.1 percent drop in residential burglaries in 2016, the latest year for which law-enforcement data is available. But it's a different story for commercial businesses, of which retail establishments have the highest burglary rates, along with office-park suites and single office buildings. In 2016, burglary of nonresidential properties, such as stores and offices, rose by a substantial 2.6 percent. Overnight burglaries increased by an even greater amount, by 6 percent, according to FBI data. The average value of losses in commercial burglaries is also growing, topping $2,500 in 2016. By comparison, a robbery of a gas station continues to offer thieves a smaller payday, falling to $970 on average. Burglary isn't only stubborn in the US. In Britain, according to the 2018 Crime Report by the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), burglary of convenience stores is significantly less common than robbery events, but it is more costly to the industry overall. On a per-incident basis, the average loss in burglary events is triple that of losses in robbery incidents, according to the survey of ACS members. More broadly, across all premises in the wholesale and retail sector, data from the UK Home Office's Commercial Victimization Survey indicates that burglary has grown slightly more problematic over the last five years. In 2017, 12 percent of businesses were victims of burglary attempts, compared to 11 percent in 2012. On the ground in the US, LP executives report to LP Magazine that burglary risk ebbs and flows, often following local crime patterns. "We see the same amount year over year," said Chris McCarrick, CFI, senior manager for asset protection solutions at Kroger. "The needle hasn't really moved." So the problem that burglars pose to retailers may not be substantially worse than in years' past, report LP executives. But it certainly isn't going away. Let's Get Physical How products are merchandised in stores continues to be a major risk factor of overnight raids, according to several LP leaders interviewed by LP Magazine , including Mike Keenan, CPP, CFI, LPC, who has led LP at Macy's, Ross, and Gap and is now president of Mike Keenan and Associates, a retail loss prevention consulting company. "It seems like a simple thing, but defense starts with not tempting people, like not putting the most expensive stuff in windows," he said. As such, Keenan and other retail security experts believe that robust burglary prevention needs, at its foundation, for LP to understand their business and items that are most likely to entice thieves after hours. Then, LP can erect barriers between thieves and their targets, added asset protection consultant Sean Ahrens, CPP, security market group leader at AEI. "It's been true in the past, and it's still the case, that the goal is to delay an aggressor's access as long as possible, ideally to the point of response," he said. The role of enticement is highlighted in a 2014 report from the Center for the Unfortunately, as an industry, retailers might currently be on their back feet. FBI data indicate that while residential homes have never been safer from burglars, the same is not true for retail stores and other commercial establishments. Chris McCarrick Sean Ahrens 16 JULY–AUGUST | LOSSPREVENTIONMEDIA.COM SAFELY INTO THE NIGHT

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