Security Enhancement; From Military Gates To Checkpoint Security System EAS Antennas
Once I was stationed on a temporary duty assignment to an Air Force base in Italy. I took to the new assignment eagerly. It was interesting for me to see how the operations varied from how things were done at my stateside base. Bases operated differently based on their mission assignments. For example, some bases have aircraft assigned to them that require stricter access to get to them. When I arrived to this base, things were a little heated in some parts of the world and we were supplementing the security forces already in place. In a way this was similar to my later experiences in retail loss prevention. When we had a spike in theft activity we would sometimes bring in Loss Prevention officers from our other stores to supplement our security in an attempt to stop shoplifting that was taking place. We would also make sure our Checkpoint security system was tested daily to be sure all the equipment was functioning, thereby maximizing our effectiveness at retail theft prevention. I know they aren’t on the same level, but there are similarities in how each improves security concerns.
In the Air Force, manned installation entry gates control access to the base. Security personnel monitor who is coming and going and can close gates as necessary. During times of increased security, military working dogs and their handlers may supplement the entry control point. In retail we use Checkpoint security system electronic article surveillance (EAS) antennas for retail theft prevention. The antennas are a visible deterrent since would-be thieves know that the antennas detect Checkpoint tags on merchandise when someone tries to steal merchandise. When someone does try to exit through an EAS antenna with stolen product that is tagged, the alarm in the antenna sounds and staff respond to identify the issue and recover the merchandise. Stores with security staff may even prosecute a shoplifter. If theft increases, stores may use Checkpoint tags on additional merchandise to try to stop shoplifting. As I mentioned previously, we occasionally sent additional security to a store to stop a problem.
Getting back to my temporary duty assignment in Italy; things were a little heated and while most of the citizens I came into contact with were very nice, there were some who were not so happy with the U.S. presence there. One day we learned there were going to be protests against the base and the base compounds situated around the town. Not all base facilities were located in one place and so there were several locations that had to be staffed with Security Police. I was assigned to a walled compound with a full gate that could be pulled open or closed and locked. I went to my post and was told an Italian Air Force counterpart would arrive shortly to assist. A few hours later, no Italian counterpart arrived but I did see the protesters making their way down the road in my direction. There were communist flags mixed with home-made signs in the crowd. I will admit I was becoming a little uneasy as I could peer through the closed gates and see this collection of people getting closer to my post. I made a radio call to try to find out if my Italian back-up was on his way, but no one had any information on his whereabouts. The protesters started to walk by my location, shouting and yelling and waving their signs, flags and banners and looking in my direction but they did not make any move directly towards me (did I emphasize I was still alone?). About half the crowd had passed by me when all of the sudden they stopped, no more yelling, no shouting they just walked away in their own directions. I was perplexed, I was fairly certain there was nothing I had done to cause this dispersion. I was amused to learn later, it was lunch time and they were breaking for a couple hours to eat and sleep. I had to give them credit, they had their priorities straight! It was not until I worked Black Fridays in retail that I would see similar mobs again.
Retail theft prevention is not as important as installation security but for the store owner it is still a big deal. A Checkpoint security system may not stop a protesting mob but it can enhance store security and stop shoplifting and improve store profits. Invest in a Checkpoint security system and Checkpoint tags, the impact will be nearly as quick as a mob breaking for lunch.
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