LP Magazine

JAN-FEB 2019

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/1078914

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Page 21 of 77

Further, the process, including civil demand notices, letters, calls, and all follow-up, should be inscrutable and fully defensible based on specific state statutes. There are also ancillary laws designed to protect consumers, which emphasizes the importance of ensuring compliance to the requirements of legislation such as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) or Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Violation of these laws are an additional source of initial accusation and potential legal action, which ultimately negatively impact civil recovery for merchants. Nevertheless, criticisms routinely appear in mainstream media with accusations of unfairness even though these programs have a solid legal foundation, and many personal defense attorneys are prospecting this area for potential lawsuits. As a result, some retailers have pulled back on their use of civil recovery. Restorative Justice Programs Restorative justice programs were intended to create a process where first-time shoplifting offenders were offered an opportunity to avoid criminal prosecution. Rather than incurring the significant time and expense to all parties involved when a shoplifter is apprehended—including those the offender would incur when faced with penalties imposed by the criminal justice system—an alternative solution was offered with the idea that there were benefits for the offender, the company, and the community at-large. Taking a page from the criminal justice system's traditional restorative justice diversion program, participants had to be first-time offenders and not involved in organized retail crime. If eligible, offenders were educated about the program and offered the choice to participate in and pay for the educational program or refuse the opportunity and opt instead to follow the traditional path of criminal prosecution and have their day in court. Those who signed up completed an online course intended to make them examine why they shoplifted, and why it's a bad choice. They paid restitution for the thefts and footed the bill for the courses. The initial response to these programs was largely positive with both retailers and police agencies where implemented. Participating retailers cut their calls to police in half, saving significant resources for local communities. Repeat shoplifting offenses for those going through the programs were less than 5 percent. Intended to create a process where offenders can learn from victims and the community to make amends, restorative justice programs were meant to establish a cooperative rather than adversarial process—one intended to help make things right, show perpetrators the impact that their crimes can have, and take the steps to see that the behavior doesn't happen again. However, while some prosecutors and police departments have applauded the implementation of restorative justice programs in the retail sector, others have taken great exception and umbrage. In 2015, a suit brought by the San Francisco City 20 JANUARY–FEBRUARY 2019 | LOSSPREVENTIONMEDIA.COM SHOPLIFTING RESPONSE, REACTION, AND RECOURSE

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