Don’t confuse security and loss prevention

Many smaller to midsized retailers often confuse their definition of security and loss prevention.  Just ask them what they are doing for loss prevention and they will tell you they have a security system.  (Bear with me this is not a bashing article.)

Let’s define a couple things.  First what most call their “security” system is technically a “burglar” system because it is only turned on after hours and will alarm if a burglar breaks in.  It does nothing during business hours which is when losses occur.  So with that being stated, the words security and loss prevention are in two different ball fields.

In fact, burglary doesn’t even hit the radar when measuring inventory shrinkage in the US.  What does hit the radar according to the holy grail of studies in the industry, the National Retail Security Survey by The University of Florida: #1 employee theft, #2 shoplifting #3 Administrative errors, #4 Unknown, and #5 Vendor fraud.

So what is true loss prevention? Let’s look at what Wikipedia says:

Retail loss prevention (in some retailers known as asset protection) is a form of private investigation into larceny or 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.

In other words loss prevention involves specific people using specific methods to discover sources of loss and solutions to reduce those losses.  Only larger retailers employ these individuals as staff and many that have done so in the past have cut them from the payroll to cut overhead in these rough economic times.

What makes sense is to consult a  loss prevention professional to review your specific issues, your current security and loss prevention methods.  The next step will be to develop a custom program that will improve your operational effectiveness and reduces your losses whether shoplifting, employee theft or other.

For more info go to: security and loss prevention 



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

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