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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said, "They pull that steel cage down over the counter; it's really pointless. I jumped on the counter, and I removed a ceiling tile out of the way, and I just climbed up into the ceiling and dropped down to the other side. I think I left there with nine bottles of Lortabs, 500 pills each." As a result of its hardened, layered approach to security, a typical burglar hitting a Chili's restaurant might do $1,500 to $2,000 worth of building damage by the time they tear up a door or bust out glass, but they don't get away with anything of real value—"maybe a few half-empty bottles of booze before running off," said Heine. "And they usually drop half of those." Heine thinks a lot of new security technology is great but notes that retail establishments with doors and windows are still vulnerable to a good crowbar. "It's been my experience that creating physical barriers is ultimately more important than the burglar alarm system." Indeed, while the latest motion detection or glass-break sensors may notify retailers of an intrusion, they aren't much of a deterrent to a gang of smash-and-grab thieves. And as high-tech security systems become more commonplace, retailers have to expect that more thieves will simply attack facilities head on and count on quick getaways rather than trying to commit theft undetected. This summer, one of the toniest streets in the country, Rodeo Drive, provided a cautionary example. High-end retailers were hit six times over the course of two months, including a burglary crew smashing a glass wall at a Saks Fifth Avenue department store. Hoping for some assistance from the public, police released security video of one of the break-ins in late May. In it, four cars slow to a stop alongside luxury shops in the early morning hours. Crews hop out of the vehicles armed with sledgehammers and begin trying to smash their way into a store. Police said thieves gave up trying to shatter the extra-strong security glass of a Saint Laurent display window, so the gang moved next door and smashed into Zadig & Voltaire. They made off with thousands of dollars worth of clothes—disappearing less than two minutes after they started the assault. Do You Have What It Takes to Prevent Store Break-ins? Insights, Opinions, and Advice LP Magazine interviewed more than one dozen retail security consultants, industry leaders, and LP executives and asked what they think about different security tools and strategies to prevent after-hours store break-ins. Their responses suggest that retailers might benefit by asking, "Are we…": Up and running? "A common misconception for stores is assuming that their security system is on and working; therefore, there is no need to run maintenance tests or update the system," warned Catherine Walsh, senior vice president and general manager of Tyco Retail Solutions. Loud enough? "An audible alarm is very effective. It creates an added level of anxiety for the thief, " said retail security consultant Mike Keenan. Consultant Sean Ahrens agrees, suggesting a 128-decibal horn. "It should be as loud as possible inside and also outside to add witness potential, " he said. Bright enough? Numerous LP executives cited quality security lighting as vital to their efforts to protect stores overnight. "Motion detector lights are also a very effective deterrent. People don't want to be seen, " said Keenan. Locked up? Building hardening is important, and that has to include the roof, warned Ahrens. "I've seen otherwise well-protected stores with scalable roofs that provide thieves with easy access inside." Secure rooftop skylights, ventilation shafts, air conditioning and heating ducts, and other possible entry points on the inside with grilles or grates. Those that cannot be secured should be alarmed. Ahren also advises connecting key-containing Knox boxes to the building's alarm system, examining window wells used for emergency egress, see if there are connections to other buildings, and so on. "You need to see how everything looks through a criminal's eyes." Installing to standards? Ahrens advises retailers to have detailed specifications for alarm installations. "I've seen too many stores where a guy comes in, slaps an alarm on the wall, and says, 'You're good to go.' Then someone breaks in and just rips it off the wall." Consultant Pat Murphy suggested that large retailers can effectively balance risk and budget by creating a few specific alarm and camera packages to apply to different stores based on their risk profiles. Securing evidence? In the event of a break-in, you don't want to find that the thief was able to destroy evidence of their crime by taking store security equipment. "You want to have that video in the cloud" or have some other solution to protect video evidence of a break-in against such tampering, advised Keenan. Following guidelines? "It's not uncommon for retailers to put together great [crime prevention] programs but then not have them followed by store managers," said Keenan. "I'm a big believer in audits." Conducted in conjunction with other operational and compliance audits, he suggests that a quarterly security review with a mini audit in the final quarter is optimal for ensuring that a retailer's burglary prevention is as good in the store as it looks on paper. SAFELY INTO THE NIGHT 18 JULY–AUGUST | LOSSPREVENTIONMEDIA.COM

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