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.

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Study of Crime and Justice at Colorado State University, "Pharmacy Robbery and Burglary: The Offender Perspective." Said one offender: "As we left [the store], I told my buddy, 'Hey, did you see all those Lortabs on the service desk?' He stated, 'That's not even the best part; they leave those pills there over night after they close.' To myself, I said, 'Is that right?' So began my habit of pharmacy burglary." Several years back, product availability was acting as a catalyst of overnight incidents at Food Lion stores, according to Joe Darnell, manager of asset protection services for retail business services at Delhaize America and its Food Lion and Hannaford brand stores. Baby formula and cigarettes were kept at service centers located at the front of Food Lion stores, sometimes unprotected and sometimes protected behind glass cases with flimsy doors. Although the items were safeguarded during the day from boosters, the products were inviting targets after stores closed. "We were having a rash of breaking and enters where they'd bust out the glass at the front door and, inside of a minute, steal $5,000 worth of cigarettes," Darnell explained. "So we had to determine a way to combat that problem." Step one in the winning security formula employed at Food Lion stores was to shed some light on after-close security events. The LP team added relays to panels to integrate its energy management and alarm systems, so an alarm activation immediately floods the front of the store in light, in addition to subsequently triggering loud sirens and strobe lighting effects. "Some might say that we were making it easier for burglars by lighting the store for them, but our findings were that it helped attract police response and also acts as a deterrent because it lets the individuals breaking in know that they are visible." The move helped improve suspect identification via store surveillance video and undoubtedly chased away others, but it was an incomplete solution. "They'd still have time to hit us and get out. We had to slow them down," explained Darnell. Using store remodels as an opportunity, with the goal of upping the effort necessary to make off with targeted merchandise, the LP team retrofitted the existing product cases with heavier doors and sourced hardened display cases when new ones were purchased. "We wanted them to have to work," said Darnell. "One minute is a long time when there is an alarm and lights are on, and you're still just trying to get to the product." Ultimately, they surpassed their target goal. In internal tests—taking hammer to cases—time required to break through case doors averaged one minute and twenty seconds. "We felt like if we could slow them down, we could catch them, or they'd go somewhere else." The measures have clearly done the trick. Food Lion stores have tracked a steep decline in break and entry, from a high of seventy-eight incidents in 2013 to just twenty in 2017. Losses have similarly dropped. The typical $5,000 in merchandise loss from break-ins five years ago is now often limited to just the cost of repairs to damaged property as thieves often give up and leave before they get at the products they're after. The same layered physical security approach is central to after-hours protection strategy for Bill Heine, chief security officer at Brinker International, which owns the Chili's restaurant chain among others. The restaurants face a fair number of burglaries annually, but more than burglar alarm systems—and the increasingly sluggish response they garner—Heine relies on physical barriers to keep individuals who break in from leaving with items of value. "We create physical barriers inside the building that make it very difficult to get to any product that people want," Heine explained, noting that liquor stock is locked up and that even locked food coolers are further subdivided so that expensive food items, such as high-end steaks, are behind yet another locked barrier. Floor-bolted safes and computer equipment reside safely behind several layers of protection in back offices, which include higher-end doorframes and reinforced doors that are almost impenetrable. Internal layers of security can't be merely for show, however, as burglars will test to find weak spots or overlooked vulnerabilities, suggest comments in the "Offender Perspective" report. One burglar, on the topic of a retail store using steel cages after hours to protect its pharmacy, Joe Darnell Bill Heine 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 78% 60% 33% 15% 29% 20% Food Lion Stores Reduce Break and Entry by >300% Source: Retail Business Services, Delhaize America 17 LP MAGAZINE | JULY–AUGUST 2018 SAFELY INTO THE NIGHT

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