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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    411

    Default Top Challenges in Loss Prevention

    SIW's retail/loss prevention columnist Liz Martinez writes this month about some of the corporate problems facing LP departments.

    (See story: http://www.securityinfowatch.com/art...on=382&id=8172 )

    What we want to know is what the problems you're facing or have faced, and what kind of solutions did you create to solve those problems?

    Post it here!

    Geoff

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    10

    Default Retail Property Management

    I work for an outdoor retail property management company. Our loss prevention issues are more due to tenants misunderstanding of our role as Security Officers. I have produced newsletters, memos, gone around and spoke to different managers/owners, but the story is always the same: They can't keep their product in their stores, but it somehow becomes our fault!

    The bulk of the complaints are usually that we don't patrol their individual store enough - we have on staff 4-7 Officers to patrol 45 acres, and nearly 200 businesses. Our Department is here to protect persons and property in common areas - we don't even have a loss prevention function. And not one of the complaintants will sign a contract to get that type of service. But it still ends up being our fault when theft occurs. Of course we make every effort to apprehend the suspects, but that's not always possible.

    The second problem we face here is what I call "back door sales," meaning internal theft of big-ticket items. "How could you miss something that big leaving the property?" they ask. Well...How are we supposed to know if the item was sold legitimately? We aren't going to go around checking for reciepts from everyone - we deal with 11 million plus people every year, with the same amount of Officers.

    I guess I write this more to vent frustration, but if anyone has any merchant education tips - I,m ready to listen!

  3. #3

    Default Challenges and Frustrations

    I really think the role of a Loss Prevention Officer has changed, especially in the last ten years. I remember when I first started my role it was that of an “undercover shopper,” I was given a set of handcuffs, a radio, and a notebook and told to go find shoplifters. That was my entire role, and all that I did. As I continued in my career the position began to change. No longer was there a person who had one job and that was to catch shoplifters but it was now a position to reduce shrink. What I saw was that this person now had to look at the “Bigger Picture,” and understand a lot more of the fundamentals of Loss Prevention, and less of the role. This person now had to understand how shrink was caused from an internal, external, and paperwork perspective, understand risk management, understand how an inventory is carried out, and what the numbers really mean, as well as to trend, and forecast future losses. The position as I saw it began to change, and adapt to the times, because no longer was it acceptable to have 4% shrink. The problem was the position changed, but for most retailer the, “Operations,” department never changed. Along came these new responsibilities, but retail management still expected LP to be targeting shoplifters 100% of the time, and continue to evolve and work in this new position. Retailers at the same time began to change the way a store was set up. More and more retailers began to open up showcases, and set up stores where customers were easily able to access merchandise that use to be locked away to prevent theft. This became yet another challenge for LP. The frustration is although most big retailers today have LP staff, LP is not recognized for the difference they make in there stores. Loss prevention today is no longer a reactive position, but also a proactive one. It is frustrating when the bigger picture is not seen by retail operations, and the proactive role that LP plays. Retail Loss Prevention today is very different then when I started, most retailers only have one or two LP personnel per store, when I first stared the store I worked in had 16. Currently I am responsible for Criminal Investigations and Audits for a large company. I am responsible for 50 stores throughout North America. Just like a lot of LP investigators I am one person responsible for shrink reduction. As a company our shrink has progressively declined every year, but a lot of that has to do again with being proactive, conducting routine audits, pre and post inventory investigations, and being in the stores. Unfortunately most retail “operations,” don’t see that as what makes a difference in the stores, to them the difference is only seen when arrests are made, and unless arrests are made 100% of the time, the LP budget keeps getting slashed, and with that shrink goes up. This is my challenge, and my frustration.


    ABM

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Rivet City, Capitol Wasteland
    Posts
    7,369

    Default

    You know, I understand this merchant problem. The merchants pay into the collective pool to get property security. They do not understand that they are not purchasing security for their store, only for the common elements of the parking lot and structures.

    It is not the property security officer's job to detect loss or shrink. That is an internal store problem. In some states, a security officer attempting to arrest someone who is a shoplifter from Store X, while Store X LP is chasing him, is violating the law unless he knows why he is arresting the person.

    A perfect example in Florida Law:
    Person X has left the store with concealed merchandise. LP Associate Y chases after him, yelling, "Store security, stop!"

    Person X continues to run through the parking lot. Officer Z is contracted to patrol the common element, his agency being contracted by the management company. Officer Z grabs Person X and...
    If Officer Z attempts to detain Person X under the Retail Theft statute, he is committing several offense including unlawful detention. He is not an agent of the shopkeeper (He is contracted as an agent of management of the property, not the store), nor does he have probable cause to believe a theft has occurred.
    If Officer Z attempts to place Person X under citizen's arrest for a breach of the peace (disorderly conduct), then he is legally privilaged to do so under Common Law. He has first hand knowledge of the disorderly conduct (running, breaching the peace of the parking lot, and resisting lawful authority), and he is authorized as a citizen of the state to remand the offender to a judge (through the police). It does not matter WHY the person is running and fighting, only that the person is guilty of disorderly conduct.
    The security officer contracted to the property management company is not there to provide loss prevention services to the tenant stores. He is there to deter offenses in the parking lot and common elements. Possibly more, such as enforcing state laws and/or client rules. In the above instance, the only reason the officer cares about the LP chase is because it affects the common element.
    Some Kind of Commando Leader

    "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Montreal borough of Verdun, Quebec, Canada
    Posts
    5,979

    Default

    Nathan

    Under Canadian law the 2nd Officer would be justified in making the arrest. We can arrest someone we believe has committed an offense AND IS BEING PERSUED (sp?) by someone allowed to arrest them. So you can arrest someone who is running away from someone yelling stop thief!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Rivet City, Capitol Wasteland
    Posts
    7,369

    Default

    Yeah, in Florida, you cannot yell "stop, thief," which is one of the first things they teach you. You are "wrongfully accusing the person publically," which in turn can get a defimation suit going.
    Some Kind of Commando Leader

    "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    West Virginia
    Posts
    330

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by N. A. Corbier
    Yeah, in Florida, you cannot yell "stop, thief," which is one of the first things they teach you. You are "wrongfully accusing the person publically," which in turn can get a defimation suit going.

    How about "Stop Alledged Thief"?
    Sorry Nathan, I had to do that.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Rivet City, Capitol Wasteland
    Posts
    7,369

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ACP01
    How about "Stop Alledged Thief"?
    Sorry Nathan, I had to do that.
    Hmm... You know, I think you could... I've also heard "Stop," stream of obsenities...
    Some Kind of Commando Leader

    "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

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