Understanding differences in security and loss prevention

As a loss prevention professional I run into retailers and business owners on a regular basis who get a little confused about the differences between security and loss prevention.  These two areas work together and are typically different systems, and sometimes are the same thing.

Wiki defines loss prevention this way: “loss prevention (in some retailers known as asset protection) is a form of private investigation into larceny theft. The focus of such investigations generally includes shoplifting,package pilferage,embezzlement, credit fraud and check fraud. “Loss prevention” or “LP” is used to describe a number of methods used to reduce the amount of all losses and shrinkage often related to retail trade.

Usually when I introduce myself to a retailer they say “we have a security system”.  See the disconnect in the wiki definition and the response?  Security personnel or burglar alarms are tools used in a loss prevention plan to accomplish the goal of preventing theft.  You could say that these tools are the tactical side and the program is the strategic side.

Left alone with no one actively using these tactical tools, like a camera system, results are often minimal at best.  Camera systems do not deter amateur thieves because they know no one is constantly watching them, if they are even turned on.  Burglar alarms are not armed during business hours when shoplifters are active.  Employees know the systems from the inside and known how to defeat them.

Consider consulting a loss prevention security professional to get an assesment of your current situation and recommendations of how to position yourself to prevent theft both internal and external.

For more information visit:  security and loss prevention 


Posted November 30th, 2010 by Staff Writer and filed in Uncategorized

Retail Loss Prevention and Check Fraud – Atlanta Georgia

The scope of retail loss prevention can often be far reaching. Not only does it include preventing shoplifting and internal theft but, in an attempt to continually reduce shrink it often includes prevention of several kinds of fraud. One of the most common kinds of fraud out there today is check fraud. Advancements in technology and desktop publishing software have made it possible for would-be criminals to print their own checks or manipulate legitimate checks to their benefit.

There are several different kinds of check fraud. Those of us in retail loss prevention need to be aware of the different kinds so that we know what to look for. The first kind is forgery; this usually happens when a criminal steals a check, signs it, and then presents it for payment at a retail establishment. These individuals will usually use some sort of bogus identification or try to get away without showing any ID at all. The second kind of check fraud is counterfeiting; this is when a criminal uses desktop publishing equipment, scanners, high-speed printers, etc. to fabricate a completely false check.

Alteration is when an individual uses chemicals and solvents to remove or modify information on a legitimate check. This can be done to specific information on a check or to the entire document. The term ‘check kiting’ refers to the practice of opening accounts at two or more institutions and using “the float time” of available funds to create fraudulent balances. This type of fraud has become increasingly popular in recent years. Your retail loss prevention team should make themselves aware of all the types of fraud and stay abreast of new developments in order to properly combat the criminal element.

For more informationabout security and loss prevention or loss prevention security  contact us: retail loss prevention or call 1.866.914.2567 Atlanta Georgia

Posted November 26th, 2010 by Staff Writer and filed in Uncategorized

Tips for Security and Loss Prevention

We all know that shoplifting is a major problem for business owners, retailers, security and loss prevention . The following are just a few useful tips on how to combat shoplifters and therefore reduce shrink within your organization. 1st of all, keep a close eye on what goes on in your restrooms and fitting rooms. These are a shoplifters dream. They know you can’t have cameras in there so they use that knowledge to try to rob you blind. Keep unused checkout aisles closed. Many shoplifters will stalk back and forth repeatedly waiting for an opportunity to make a break for the door.

Security and loss prevention should also post anti-shoplifting signs. Let the crooks know that you’re aware of their presence and are equipped to stop them. Keep small expensive items like electronics or fragrances in locked display cases. Make sure your store associates know what to do in the case that they spot a shoplifter. Security and loss prevention should instruct them on what numbers to call or ways to contact them and what they are and are not permitted to do in order to deter a shoplifter from leaving the premises.

Plain-clothed personnel should be patrolling and watching the store continuously. Turn over all apprehended shoplifters to the police. Trust me, this is every shoplifter’s first time if you listen to them. Word gets around. Have them arrested and cited and future shoplifters will find another, less-serious, retailer to steal from. Uniformed guards stationed at the exits are also a great deterrent to shoplifters. There’s no way to completely prevent external theft but have your security and loss prevention employ these tips and you’ll greatly reduce your shrink.

For more information about retail loss prevention contact us: security and loss prevention or call 1.866.914.2567 – Atlanta Georgia

Posted November 24th, 2010 by Staff Writer and filed in Uncategorized

Proper Utilization of Security and Loss Prevention – Atlanta Georgia

Let’s face it, no matter where you’re at in this great country of ours there are certain places where security and loss prevention are a much higher priority than others. In high risk communities it is extremely important that you utilize both tiers properly in order to keep your shrink to a manageable level. Your standard security, usually a uniformed guard or mobile unit, is primarily a deterrent to theft. Even the most brazen thief will think twice about grabbing a handful of merchandise and making a run for the door if there’s an authority figure present to block his/ her path.

The purpose of loss prevention is to identify and eliminate the more clandestine thieves. These criminals make up the majority of the shoplifting community. Most shoplifters don’t want to be identified. Not because they fear prosecution (though I’m sure that must factor into their thinking at some point) but because being identified greatly reduces the opportunity for them to return and steal from you again. This is why your security and loss prevention must work closely together to identify would-be shoplifters and deter hardened criminals.

Security and loss prevention must also work together to in the same way to deter internal theft. Security bag checks and random searches are a great way to keep your employees on their toes. They know that you, the business owner or manager, are far too busy with other tasks to concentrate on them 24/7, but shrink reduction and theft deterrence is the sole purpose of security and loss prevention. Proper utilization of these 2 forces will go a long way to controlling and improving your bottom line.

For more information about loss prevention security or retail loss prevention contact us: security and loss prevention or call 1.866.914.2567 – Atlanta Georgia

Posted November 22nd, 2010 by Staff Writer and filed in Uncategorized

Managing Your Security and Loss Prevention – Atlanta Georgia

I’ve been in the security and loss prevention field for a long time and still there are things that transpire in the confines of this profession that make me sit back and say “Really?” I was on my way into my local mall the other day, undoubtedly for something I didn’t really need, when I spotted a young man running full speed across the parking lot. Behind him was a member of mall security and loss prevention from one of the mall’s anchor stores. Now, everyone loves a good chase so I stood back and watched.

The young man weaved between a number of parked cars on his way through the parking lot then darted out into traffic, completely oblivious to his own peril. The two pursuers were hot on his heels the entire time. Finally, the store loss prevention officer tackled the assailant to the ground and the mall security officer pounced on him and put him in handcuffs. They yanked him to his feet and began walking him back towards the mall. On the way I observed as the loss prevention officer reached into the young man’s sweater and pulled out 2 music CD’s. My only thought at that point was “Really? All that for $30 bucks?”

A retailer can be held responsible for the actions of his employees, even his security and loss prevention staff. At any point during the above mentioned chase the assailant could have injured himself in any number of ways and, as unfair as it is, the retailer could have been held responsible for those injuries since at the time the assailant was being chased by one of the store’s agents. It is critical to send a message to shoplifters that crime will not be tolerated, however was the loss of that $30 worth the possible tens of thousands in lawsuits that they opened themselves up to in that situation? It is important to be aware of the law and possible liability that you as a company face in apprehending and detaining shoplifters. There are a number of rules, many of which vary from state to state, that your security and loss prevention staff need to be aware of.

For more information about loss prevention security or retail loss prevention contact us: security and loss prevention or call 1.866.914.2567 – Atlanta Georgia

Posted November 19th, 2010 by Staff Writer and filed in Uncategorized

Profiling and Retail Loss Prevention – Atlanta Georgia

One of the most useful and frequently used tools in the world of retail loss prevention is profiling. Yeah, I said it, but before you start writing letters let me explain. These days we tend to associate the word “profiling” with negative discriminatory acts or stereotyping. However, the actual definition of profiling is: “Recording a person’s behavior and analyzing psychological characteristics in order to predict or assess their ability in a certain sphere or to identify a particular group of people”. In retail loss prevention the group of people we are trying to identify are shoplifters.

 If it’s 80 degrees outside yet an individual has just walked into your store wearing a long overcoat aren’t you going to watch him/ her? Guess what, you just profiled them. An individual carrying a large, nearly empty purse or backpack is often worth watching for no other reason. It’s not just physical characteristics either; a person’s attitude or behavior can also be profiled. If someone is nervous or fidgety and avoids contact with associates and other customers they are someone you should pay attention to. After all, it’s a department store. How nerve racking can picking out a pair of socks actually be?

Profiling is a great tool in retail loss prevention . However, you must be mindful that the temptation may exist to take it too far. At no time should it ever be acceptable to profile someone on the basis of their race, sex, age, creed or religion. Not only are these practices morally reprehensible, but they will open up your company to a number of lawsuits and probably lost revenue. When used properly profiling can be a great asset in your retail loss prevention efforts.

For more information about loss prevention security or security and loss prevention contact us: retail loss prevention or call 1.866.914.2567 – Atlanta Georgia

Posted November 15th, 2010 by Staff Writer and filed in Uncategorized

Loss Prevention Security and Your Business – Atlanta Georgia

Loss prevention security should be a priority to any business owner operating in today’s marketplace. Let’s face it: it ain’t all good. From 1948 until 2010 the United States unemployment rate averaged around 5.7%. That rate was last reported at 9.6% for the month of September. As it has always been, an increase in unemployment leads to an increase in overall crime and sooner or later that crime is going to come knocking at your door. What are you going to do about it?

My suggestion would be to develop a comprehensive loss prevention security plan and stick to it. No matter how big or small your business is you need some sort of a strategy for keeping your merchandise safe and out of the hands of shoplifters and not-so-honest associates. Whether you require a full blown DVR system and a 6-man loss prevention security staff or a simple static camera over the cash register, you need to be accurate in your risk assessment and employ the proper amount of security for your individual business needs.

Confused? Not sure exactly which is the best route for you and your company? The good news is that there is a plethora of information available to you if you’re willing to do the due diligence and research your options. On the other hand, my dad always said “Boy, if you don’t know, just ask somebody!” and there are a number of companies in business that are staffed with Loss Prevention professionals who can outfit your company with the proper equipment and knowledge to fit your needs… just ask. Loss prevention security a vital and necessary part of doing business today. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

For more information about retail loss prevention or security and loss prevention contact us: loss prevention security or call 1.866.914.2567

Posted November 11th, 2010 by Staff Writer and filed in Uncategorized

Retail Loss Prevention and EAS

There are many sounds that bring a smile to my face, but in the retail loss prevention world none is quite as sweet as the incessant chirp of an EAS sensor as it passes by a security tower. That high-pitched tone means that money, which would have otherwise been lost, will now remain within the store. What exactly is EAS, you may be asking? The acronym stands for Electronic Article Surveillance, and EAS is an important part of retail loss prevention .

EAS includes hard tags or stickers which are placed on different pieces of merchandise either manually once it gets to your store, or during the packaging stage by the manufacturer. These tags need to be removed or deactivated at the point of sale by your cashiers. If they have not been deactivated they will be picked up by the security tower and an alarm will begin to sound.

This obviously makes them a problem for most shoplifters… exactly what you want. Keep in mind that professional, and more experienced shoplifters, are aware of these devices and will go to great lengths to remove them. Many of them will carry small cutting tools just for this reason. I once watched a shoplifter open and remove the stickers from 40 DVD’s and videogames (a process which took over an hour) before walking out of the door with the unpaid merchandise.

You also have to consider your more brazen crooks; the ‘grab and run’ criminals who don’t care whether they set the alarms off or not. For this reason EAS is obviously not a cure-all. However, most shoplifters don’t want to be detected. Why? Well, because they want to be able to come back and steal from you again. EAS can be a very valuable tool in protecting your merchandise from these types of criminals and should be seriously considered when developing your retail loss prevention plan.

For more information contact us: retail loss prevention or call 1.866.914.2567

Posted November 4th, 2010 by Staff Writer and filed in Uncategorized

Retail Loss Prevention and Proper Training – Atlanta Georgia

You’ve done the right thing in hiring a retail loss prevention staff and given them the proper tools in which to do their job, and none too soon. There’s a particularly seedy-looking gentleman in your store.

He’s dressed unseasonably warm and eye-balling everyone in his immediate vicinity. He’s carrying close to $300 worth of your merchandise in his arms when he ducks behind a rack of clothing; when he emerges again, he’s empty handed. As he exits the store your retail loss prevention associate stops him and what do you know… he’s got nothing. However, what you now have is a potential lawsuit. How do you prevent this?

There’s a sign hanging in my office that reads: “Check your gut at the door”. It means simply that there is no room for gut feelings or intuition in the world of retail loss prevention . Proper training and adherence to that training is the only sure way to not land yourself in hot water. The following are the rules that I’ve instructed my associates to abide by before apprehending a shoplifter. I’d love to tell you that I made them up, but I didn’t. They’ve been around for years, they are time-tested and they work.

  1. Observe the suspect approach the merchandise. (ensuring they didn’t have it with them when they came in)
  2. Observe the suspect select the merchandise from the display.
  3. Observe the suspect either conceal or walk away with the merchandise. If they concealed it, know where exactly it is at.
  4. Maintain continuous visual surveillance of the suspect the entire time they’re in the store.
  5. Ensure that the suspect does not pay for the merchandise in question.
  6. Allow the suspect to exit. Once they’re outside with the unpaid merchandise they’ve actually committed a crime and then can be detained.

Proper training of your retail loss prevention staff can save you a lot of heartache and countless dollars in your day to day operations.

For more information contact us: retail loss prevention or call 1.866.914.2567

Posted November 2nd, 2010 by Staff Writer and filed in Uncategorized