If you own a store that sells softlines merchandise clothing security has to be a concern for you. Theft is going to happen and you need to be prepared to address it but how you do so can be a tricky proposition. When I started out in Retail Loss Prevention my first job was in a department store and the majority of the merchandise we carried was softlines products such as men’s and women’s clothing, shoes, handbags and accessories. What you have to be careful of is protecting merchandise from theft and also not making false accusations against customers. I thought about this after watching a “live” police show on television the other night (although it was a previously recorded episode). I also read a news story about a teenager allegedly falsely accused of shoplifting after having been forcibly stopped by a store Loss Prevention Agent. I will tell you more about each incident in a moment but first I want to say that I have made a couple of “bad” stops during my own 17 years in Loss Prevention. It is uncomfortable and embarrassing to the accused and as the officer making the stop it is embarrassing and sticks with you a LONG time (as I attest to writing this more than 17 years after my own first “bad” stop). The other issue is that a bad stop can result in a lawsuit against the business. Sensormatic tags on clothing can greatly reduce the risk of ever having to deal with bad stops and the potential for being sued.
The purpose of clothing security is to prevent theft through deterrence. Plain and simply those who shoplift do so for any number of reasons but they are usually dissuaded when the risk of being caught is too great. Bill Bregar who is the founder and owner of Loss Prevention Systems, Inc. was a National Director of Loss Prevention for several major retailers. He has experience with electronic article system tags working and deterring shoplifting. He recommends his customers invest in Sensormatic systems and tags to reduce shrink. Crooks know that tags are going to set off alarms if they get near the pedestals in an effort to sneak clothes out. Sensormatic tags will also damage clothes if a shoplifter attempts to force them off in order to steal merchandise. Either way, the use of these devices will stop shoplifting. If a store isn’t using electronic article surveillance that business is going to have high shortage rates there is no getting around that fact.
This brings me to the two cases that turned out to be bad stops. In the television show a suspect was stopped by police, handcuffed and told that he was a suspect in a shoplifting incident at a hardware store. The Loss Prevention Officer came out, showed video from her phone of the incident and it was determined the suspect was not the same person. The man was released. Then in an article from wsvn.com on December 13, 2018, by Nicole Linsalata and Andrew Dymburt, they report about a family suing a major retailer after a “security officer” stopped a 13-year old girl for shoplifting. The report says that video of the arrest shows the security officer pushing the girl to the ground. To make matters worse the police found all four of the bathing suits the girl was suspected of taking were still in the fitting room. I don’t know if the stores in question use Sensormatic tags or not but obviously they do have security officers. Large retailers can afford these officers but they can and do make mistakes. Unfortunately these officers sometimes have poor training or can be too aggressive. Sometimes they get so focused on a case they fail to err on the side of caution and when that happens, things can spiral out of control. This can lead to a very costly lawsuit for the store.
Small store owners with no Loss Prevention can avoid worrying about any of this if they use Clothing security tags to protect their merchandise. If tags are used there will be few attempts at shoplifting and those that do happen can often be prevented with great customer service. To help owners with electronic article alarm response and theft prevention, Loss Prevention Systems, Inc. offers free training with the purchase of a Sensormatic system.
Don’t make bad choices or bad stops. Use clothing security tags to stop theft from taking place. Train employees on the proper methods of tagging products and alarm response and you will find you can greatly reduce theft and significantly improve profits.
Get more information on clothing security, contact us or call 1.866.914.2567 today.