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

Contents of this Issue


Page 67 of 77

continued on page 68 than a human being, psychologically, they felt less guilty about stealing. During the interviews, I explored the reasons why some offenders target specific stores. Some feedback is rather sedentary and cannot be acted on, such as the omnipresence and proximity of the brand, size of the store, or the variety of products a retail chain carries. However, many offenders identified lack of employee oversight as the biggest opportunity retailers can act upon to reduce theft opportunities at self-checkouts. In addition, some offenders reported that outdated technologies and lack of consequences for shoplifting can precipitate more shoplifting incidents. Role of Employees When asked to identify loss prevention technologies in the self-checkout areas, many offenders interviewed recognized the associates as a deterrent before perceiving the surrounding technologies. Some offenders even reported that an attentive self-checkout associate is more effective at deterring theft than advanced technologies. Needless to say, self-checkout associates play a crucial role in deterring shoplifting. One offender even commented on the importance of an attentive associate in deterring shoplifting: "A lot of stealing got by because of lazy employees—employees are not paying attention or are on their phones. It's all about the employees. If the store has employees who are more attentive, then self-checkout theft would be hard." As previously mentioned, a majority of the offenders admitted to intentionally using self-checkout services to avoid employee oversight. Therefore, increased associate supervision at self-checkout areas can help a store mitigate theft. However, there is a fine balance between the level of engagement associates should provide and its effectiveness in deterring shoplifting. In general, there are two categories of thoughts from the offenders. On one hand, some offenders suggested that employee engagement and assistance during the checkout process would discourage from stealing. Offender two said, "Employee engagement would deter me from stealing because that kind of lets me know that I'm being watched, even if they just say, 'Is there something I could help you with?' or 'Do you need any help today?' It's a lot easier to shoplift from a store when employees are not as engaging." On the other hand, some offenders suggested that self-checkout associates do not necessarily have to be engaging to deter shoplifters; rather, they just need to be aware of the overall checkout process. As a matter of fact, these offenders even indicated it might be helpful if the employee is simply overseeing the area, rather than engaging with customers, as some offenders intentionally wait for moments when employees are assisting other customers so that they may shoplift without the risk of drawing attention. Offender three said, "You have an extra set of eyes on you, so you're less likely to slide an item covered by another item." Regardless of level of engagement the self-checkout associates seek to provide, the main force of deterrence is attentive self-checkout associates who pay attention to customers and their surroundings. Moreover, employee training can be crucial in combating self-checkout theft. Educating associates on suspicious activities and red flags indicators and then engaging with the would-be shoplifters could enhance the overall effectiveness of customer service at self-checkout. The Loss Prevention Research Council (LPRC) continues to help retailers shaping strategies to maximize convenience, minimizing costs and losses through the SmartCheckout Centers of Excellence. Check out the video associated with this article online to see clips from actual offender interviewers: losspreventionmedia.com/insider/ shoplifting-organized-retail-crime/offender-perspectives-on -self-checkout-theft/. 1-800 Shoplifting Assistance By Stefanie Hoover, CFI Sometimes, things just fall in your lap. I'd been trying to decide what to write about for this blog, you know, something interesting and topical to really get folks hooked and coming back. Nothing was really striking me as The One, until I got a phone call… Let me set the scene: I was enjoying a semi-quiet spring morning working in my home office. No kids were around, as they were in school, but the two very loud English bulldogs were adding some background noise with their snoring. Suddenly my phone rang, and yes, I answered it! I know, it's such a crazy concept, especially since I didn't recognize the caller from Portland, Oregon. After a couple of attempts to answer (the caller hung up on me twice), I started to speak with the gentleman. He stated that he had found our company via a Google search and saw that we sell exploding dye packs. We do sell these, along with a lot of other products. So I immediately started continued from page 65 66 JANUARY–FEBRUARY 2019 | LOSSPREVENTIONMEDIA.COM

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