So, you have a shoplifting problem in your store. You’re not sure exactly what to do about it. You’re using Checkpoint Tags on your product, but the criminals are still running rampant. You’re frustrated, annoyed, and frankly, pretty angry. You’re about two days away from snapping a shoplifter in half. Does this sound like you? If it does, you’ve come to the right place. You need some guidance on how to physically confront and handle a thief.
First things first. What I’m going to lay-out for you should be a guide. Not every store is the same and not every line here may mesh well with your particular store set up. I simply want to share with you my decade of work in the Loss Prevention field in order to help you with your shoplifting problem. Since the majority of my time has been spent in clothing retailers, that’s the examples I will draw upon, but this guide can be applied across any industry that sells things to the open public. So when I use a term for Clothing Security, just image the types of things you can apply that to in your particular store. Now, that’s out of the way, let’s get down to business.
First, take a good look at the product you carry, and the losses you are experiencing. Focus your resources on the top losses in your store. You’ll get the most return on your investment this way. Before every season, I beef up my Clothing Security strategy on what was a high loss item last year, and what will most likely be trending this year. That’s your defense. You have to have a defense; otherwise you’ll like the 2016 Saints. Now let’s go to offense.
It’s 4pm and you notice Billy-Bob hovering around some high end jackets. You notice that he appears more interested in the Checkpoint Tags than the actual jacket. So, being such a savvy manager, you walk over, you greet Billy-Bob and offer to help him find the right size. Well, Billy-Bob says he’s got in under control and walks away with that $400 jacket. You’re intuition tells you something isn’t right, so you keep a good close watch of Billy-Bob as he finds a nice, secluded section of your store.
From your vantage point, Billy-Bob can’t see you, but you have the best view in the house. You watch as Billy-Bob rips off the Checkpoint Tags that you so carefully placed and just as fast, tucks the jacket into his waistline. What do you do? You can either approach him right now and get your stuff back, or you can have him arrested for stealing. A slap on the wrist does not work with these people, so your answer should be “send him to jail!”.
What you want to do is what for Billy-Bob to leave the store completely, that way he can’t argue that he was still going to pay for it. Once he passes your last register and makes it out of the door, then there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Billy-Bob had full intention of stealing from you. Once Billy-Bob does make it outside, use reasonable force to detain him until the police arrive. Remember the word REASONABLE. Often, it’s as easy as asking the suspect to simply turn around and come back into the store. Don’t get into an all-out brawl with a shoplifter. It’s never worth it.
Once the police arrived, you can explain what happened. Be sure to remain professional, even with the adrenaline flow. Explain that you watched Billy-Bob defeat your Clothing Security device and conceal product and leave the store. ALWAYS press charges. Words spreads fast in the criminal world that you don’t mess around and the more people you send to jail, the smaller the target becomes on your store.
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