Use Caution When Responding To A Sensormatic System Alert
I believe it only makes sense for a store owner to try to stop shoplifting from happening in their store. The use of closed circuit television, public view monitors and a Sensormatic security system are the proper tools to do this. What does not make sense is asking employees to respond to electronic article surveillance (EAS) alarms and not train them first in how to do so properly. I make this observation after having just watched a video from a news story (wgno.com “How Many Times Can Shoplifters Target The Same Store In Just Two Weeks”, April 12, 2019) that showed employees trying to stop people attempting to exit their store with laundry detergent they did not pay for. The crooks can be seen walking through EAS towers at the front doors but at least in one instance an associate locked the doors so they could not exit. The lights in the tower flashed indicating the merchandise was tagged. The thieves are approached by store personnel but the approach and interaction made me nervous for the employees. As a former Loss Prevention Manager it looked ugly and it could have gotten uglier. Three different suspects all attempted to walk out with detergent. One suspect was approached by an employee who did not seem to do so safely. The video showed the employee was trying to talk the suspect into putting the detergent down but he also got into close proximity with the perpetrator and even followed him out of the store after the suspect put the merchandise down. There are times when an employee is better off calling police than putting themselves (or others) into a precarious position.
A Sensormatic system is going to deter the vast majority of your would-be shoplifters. These people come in and as soon as they see the detection towers they conclude that trying to steal from the store would be risky. Unfortunately there are other shoplifters, aggressive and potentially dangerous who steal as part of an organized crime ring or as part of a gang. It is very difficult to stop shoplifting by these criminals. In a normal situation anti-theft towers and tags deter theft and any trained employee can respond to an alarm and tactfully recover merchandise. The same is not the case with the aggressive shoplifter. It is not always clear who is going to be cooperative and who is going to become belligerent. As I watched the video clips I decided to give some quick tips on handling Sensormatic system alarms based on my training and experiences.
• When an alarm tower sounds the responding employee should approach the customer in a calm manner. Don’t look aggressive. Offering an explanation such as something must not have been deactivated helps to relax the offender.
• Never take a bag from the person. The employee should ask if they can look in the bag for something that may be causing the alarm. If the shopper does not have a shopping bag from your store or only has a purse, take the pressure off of the “customer” by suggesting they could have something from another store that was not deactivated by their employees. If merchandise belonging to your store is found offer to ring it up for them. Let them “change” their mind if they so desire and just turn over merchandise.
• As your employee interacts with the patron they should try to maintain an arm length in distance until they can determine if the person is going to be cooperative. Even if they are cooperative the employee must stay alert to the off-chance the suspect gets irritated or aggressive. If this happens disengage.
• Your workers should never block a suspect’s exit from the store or follow-them out. Yes, you want to stop shoplifting but this places the employee in a dangerous position. They never know if the suspect will push past them or knock them down to get out. Your employee also does not know who may be outside waiting for the suspect.
Make sure your staff is trained on the proper methods of EAS tower alarm response. Most times your system will deter thieves and when they choose to try anyways you can be sure that Sensormatic system tags will set off the pedestals. Done properly employees can recover tagged product without incident. It is your responsibility to keep your team safe from harm so make sure they are trained to know when it is time to leave someone alone and call the police.
A Sensormatic system is important and we can help you with it. Call 1.866.914.2567 and let’s talk.