How do you train employees to stop shoplifting whether they are Loss Prevention personnel, store employees or managers? Well, a long time ago when I first entered the world of Retail Loss Prevention it was all OJT (On The Job Training). My new boss showed me how cameras worked, what to look for to identify shoplifters. I had to go through the store’s orientation class and work the salesfloor and cashiering for a week. Once I started catching shoplifters on my own we had very few limits on what we could or could not do. One of the things we could do then that is almost never permitted today is chasing a shoplifter. That being the case I had a number of funny and scary situations I was involved in but there was one that was funny and scary at the same time.
Before I go further with my story I would like to digress for a moment and discuss training for managers to impact shortage. Many large businesses have manager training that includes at least a segment by a Loss Prevention department that deals with issues of theft. Smaller and privately owned retail store owners may not have this kind of training available to them. Training to reduce employee theft and stop shoplifting is critical for any retail management team. Not knowing the methods employees may use to steal from a store means the dishonest employees can take advantage of management. Not being able to identify how shoplifters commit their crimes and what can prevent these activities can lead to unsustainable shortage. Loss Prevention Systems Inc. (LPSI) has training sessions available to provide the same (or better) training than the big corporations give their managers. LPSI offers managers courses on training to reduce employee theft and how to stop shoplifting. Employees will learn the methods these criminals use and how to prevent them as well as teaching on what NOT to do when it comes to shoplifters.
With that said I return to my story. Remember that we had no rules that governed us in what we could or could not do to catch a shoplifter except, don’t make a bad stop. Stopping a person who did not steal anything was a cardinal sin even at that time. I was watching a couple with an infant stroller via closed circuit television. The two were pulling tags off of children’s clothes and hiding them in the stroller and a diaper bag. This activity went on for quite some time and eventually they walked to the exit doors. I left the security office and stopped the couple. They denied having done anything and started shouting at me. The woman started to go back into the store but the man ran. I chased him to his station wagon and as he got in the car he realized he didn’t have the keys. He yelled to the woman to come to the car and it was obvious she was too scared to leave. I had our operator on my two-way radio and she was on the phone with local police describing the situation. I told the couple the police were coming and to cooperate. When the man realized the woman wouldn’t leave the sidewalk he jumped back out of the vehicle and wanted to fight me. I wasn’t going to intentionally get into a fist fight and kept my distance, going to the other side of the car. The subject got onto the roof of his car and was screaming about what he was going to do to me. I remained calm as I heard the police sirens approaching. I tried to explain that he was causing a scene in front of his wife and child and he should cooperate. Apparently that just angered him more and he jumped up and down on the car and was doing so as the police pulled up. I admit I was a bit scared at anyone dumb enough to jump up and down on the roof of their car and scream over a shoplifting incident. On the other hand it was a funny scene to see and more so when he refused to come down for the police officers.
Chasing shoplifters is a bad idea and I would not suggest it to anyone. Rather, find out how to stop shoplifting and while you’re at it take training to reduce employee theft from LPSI. Instead of the guy on the roof of his car, you’ll be the one jumping up and down when you see how much money you can save your company due to theft reduction.
Get more information on training to reduce employee theft contact us or call 1.770.426.0547 today