Tips to prevent shoplifting
Thanks to all who attended the May 15th meeting on shoplifting. We had a great dialog about the issue. For those that missed it, below is some information from the meeting.
- More than $13 billion worth of goods are stolen from retailers each year. That’s more than $35 million per day.
- There are approximately 27 million shoplifters (or 1 in 11 people) in our nation today. More than 10 million people have been caught shoplifting in the last five years.
- Shoplifters steal from all types of stores including department stores, specialty shops, supermarkets, drug stores, discounters, music stores, convenience stores and thrift shops.
- There is no profile of a typical shoplifter. Men and women shoplift about equally as often.
- Approximately 25 percent of shoplifters are kids, 75 percent are adults. 55 percent of adult shoplifters say they started shoplifting in their teens.
- Many shoplifters buy and steal merchandise in the same visit. Shoplifters commonly steal from $2 to $200 per incident depending upon the type of store and item(s) chosen.
- Shoplifting is often not a premeditated crime. 73 percent of adult and 72 percent of juvenile shoplifters don’t plan to steal in advance.
- Shoplifters say they are caught an average of only once in every 48 times they steal. They are turned over to the police 50 percent of the time.
- Approximately 3 percent of shoplifters are “professionals” who steal solely for resale or profit as a business. These include drug addicts who steal to feed their habit and hardened professionals.
- The vast majority of shoplifters are “non-professionals” who steal, not out of criminal intent, financial need or greed but as a response to social and personal pressures in their life.
- The excitement generated from “getting away with it” produces a chemical reaction resulting in what shoplifters describe as an incredible “rush” or “high” feeling. Many shoplifters will tell you that this high is their “true reward,” rather than the merchandise itself.
- 57 percent of adults and 33 percent of juveniles say it is hard for them to stop shoplifting even after getting caught.
- Most non-professional shoplifters don’t commit other types of crimes. They’ll never steal an ashtray from your house and will return to you a $20 bill you may have dropped. Their criminal activity is restricted to shoplifting and therefore, any rehabilitation program should be “offense-specific” for this crime.
- Habitual shoplifters steal an average of 1.6 times per week.
What can you do to slow it down in your business?
Many of these thieves work in groups of two or more to distract the sales staff while they pilfer. Shoplifters learn to take advantage of busy stores during peak hours or they may hit at times when employees are less alert, such as opening, closing and shift changes.
Hiding merchandise is the most common method of shoplifting. Items are concealed in the clothing of the shoplifter, in handbags, strollers, umbrellas or inside purchased merchandise. Bold shoplifters may grab an item and run out of the store. Other methods include price label switching, short changing the cashier, phony returns, and so on.
Spot the Shoplifter
Unfortunately, there is no typical profile of a shoplifter. Thieves come in all ages, races and from various backgrounds. However, there are some signs that should signal a red flag for retailers. While the following characteristics don’t necessarily mean guilt, retailers should keep a close eye on shoppers who exhibit the following:
- Spends more time watching the cashier or sales clerk than actually shopping.
- Wears bulky, heavy clothing during warm weather or coats when unnecessary.
- Walks with short or unnatural steps, which may indicate that they are concealing lifted items.
- Takes several items into dressing room and only leaves with one item.
- Seems nervous and possibly picks up random items with no interest.
- Frequently enters store and never makes a purchase.
- Enters dressing room or rest rooms with merchandise and exits with none.
- Large group entering the store at one time, especially juveniles. A member of the group causes a disturbance to distract sales staff.
Put a stop to shoplifting!
Shoplifters assume they won’t get caught. Your strategy is to prove them wrong. The following tips require thought and ingenuity, but cost very little.
• Alert employees are your best defense. Establish procedures for them to follow if they suspect shoplifting, and make sure they are familiar with shoplifting laws.
• Make sure you can see everything that goes on in your store. Keep counters low, no more thanwaist-high. Mount mirrors in corners so there are no blind spots.
• Arrange counters and display tables so there’s no direct route to the exit. Some stores put turnstiles at entrances so the only way out is to pass the checkout counter. Place expensive items in the center of the store away from exits.
• Arrange displays so that missing items are easily noticed. Place small items in neat rows or clearly defined patterns.
• Attach inventory alarm tags to expensive merchandise. Reverse alternate hangers of hanging garments to prevent “grab and runs.”
• Announce and observe a zero tolerance policy to prosecute shoplifters. The threat of being caught, questioned by police, put on trial and maybe even put in jail, may be enough to discourage shoplifters.
Source-San Francisco Police Department
Shoplifting Prevention Meeting
Tuesday, May 15, 2012-5-7pm
5 Fusion & Sushi Bar, 821 Wall
no host bar
As we approach summer, it’s crucial we have a strategy on preventing shoplifting and protecting our businesses. Our guest will be Bend Police Department’s expert Steve Esselstyn who will give you the tools to reduce shoplifting. We will also be discussing ways we can work together downtown to help address this issue.