Prevention Of Shoplifting Requires Retail Ant-Theft Devices And Customer Service
The first step a business owner or manager must take to prevent shoplifting in their stores is to use retail anti-theft devices to protect merchandise. These devices may include electronic article surveillance tags, cameras, showcases, and etc. The thing many business owners forget to address is the fact that retail anti-theft devices alone are not enough to stop theft. There has to be awareness, education and training of staff as well. Protection tools such as Alpha Keepers are great for deterring theft, but the truth of the matter is they don’t stop determined thieves, especially when employees are not nearby to respond to electronic article surveillance alarms.
For someone not aware of what Alpha Keepers are, they are solid, clear plastic boxes with a hinged top that locks in place after merchandise is placed in the box. The boxes are very durable and extremely difficult to break into without the proper detachment key. They are also electronic article surveillance (EAS) sensitive and will activate EAS antennas if they come into the proximity of the antennas. Keepers come in a variety of shapes and sizes giving options for protecting a wide range of products. Protective case designs are available for small health and beauty products to video game software and even round cases for baby formula.
This brings me to the point of this article, do Alpha Keepers prevent shoplifting? Yes and no is my answer. Retail anti-theft devices prevent theft by casual shoplifters who are looking for a quick thrill of stealing but are not interested in risk. The chance that an alarm could be set off at a door or prying off an anti-theft device could trip an alarm is enough to prevent theft by the “amateur” shoplifter. The professional shoplifter who makes their living stealing and reselling generally avoids items that will trigger alarms. Their goal is to leave a building undetected after stealing so they can return at a later time and steal again. So who does that leave since it sounds like most criminals are deterred by retail anti-theft devices? It leaves those who are risk takers and frequently these are the people who are stealing to support drug and alcohol habits.
A case in point is a recent incident at the store I work at as a sales associate. A customer came in one night and my instincts as a prior Loss Prevention Manager kicked in and I was immediately wary of him. The customer was looking around in a suspicious manner and seemed very jittery. I offered him assistance and he told me he was looking for ink cartridges. Our store keeps the cartridges in Alpha Keepers in a corralled area. I walked the customer to the ink cartridges and continued to assist him by trying to determine the cartridge style he needed. The patron said he had to call his mother to find out. Well, the store was busy and we have a limited staff so I took the chance that the ink cartridges would be okay since they were in keeper boxes. I hadn’t walked away very far to assist someone else when I heard the EAS alarm at the doors sound. The “customer” I had been assisting had selected two ink cartridges valued at about a hundred dollars or so combined and he ran out the door. The security boxes did what they were designed to do and set off the alarm, but in this case there was no one in the vicinity of the door to respond to the alarm and challenge him.
Retail anti-theft devices can and usually do prevent shoplifting, but to truly maximize their effectiveness, it is important to adequately staff a store with enough employees. Sometimes it can be as simple as having enough people that someone is in the area of the door to respond to alarms. If extra staffing is out of the question, it may be a matter of placing a cashier and a register at the exit making it difficult for a criminal to grab and run. Just remember, Alpha Keepers are not a cure-all for all theft but they will prevent a significant portion of it and keep your store profitable.
Get more information on Alpha Keepers. Contact us or call 1.770.426.0547 today.