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  • Should empoyees know?

    Hello all. I work as Inventory/LP Manager for a small chain of stores. We have top of the line POS equipment and video equipment. I spend most of my time doing my investigations remotely. This sometimes leads clerks to think that no one is watching and checking on them. The owners and I differ on viewing this as an advantage. They feel that if they know that we can view remotely that they will be more sneaky about how they are stealing. And if we keep it all a secret they will be more open. I feel that if we let them all know that we have the capability to check remotely but, not let them know all that we can see, would act as a deterent.
    This is all coming to be an issue because I have been catching clerks at an average of three a month. We are a 17 store chain with only an average of 3 employees at each location. I don't know about you but this seems pretty bad.
    Should employees know??

  • #2
    I would have no problems with letting employees know up front. The fact of the matter is they will forget about it anyway. I think the problem lies within your companies hiring process. So few stores with only three employees per store (in some) and three internals a month tells me someone has dropped the ball in the hiring department.

    Welcome to the site.
    Retail Security Consultant / Expert Witness
    Co-Author - Effective Security Management 6th Edition

    Contributor to Retail Crime, Security and Loss Prevention: An Encyclopedic Reference

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    • #3
      Also, though you can view remotely, and have video you can review, the reality is you can't watch everything or even very much of it, all of the time. And you can't review everything. So it's more beneficial as a deterrant than actually catching them. If you're catching 3, how many get missed? I'd say let them know, but as you say, not all that you can see.
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      • #4
        Except for the obvious exception of a specific covert investigation, I think you're always on better ground in many different ways to let employees know about surveillance capabilities - at least in general terms. This should probably be presented in the context of a broad-ranging discussion of loss-prevention measures that the stores employ (register audits, inventory methods, etc.), and a discussion of the policies regarding theft, etc.
        "Every betrayal begins with trust." - Brian Jacques

        "I can't predict the future, but I know that it'll be very weird." - Anonymous

        "There is nothing new under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 1:9

        "History, with all its volumes vast, hath but one page." - Lord Byron

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        • #5
          Where I worked at the store has a policy of taking new associates on a tour of the entire store "during training." The HR Mgr. will also bring any new associate back to the LPM & CCTV rooms to show them around.

          I agree that it's sometimes better to let them know what's being looked at but without all the details. Associates don't need to know everything...and if what they do know becomes a deturent then I'm all for it.

          What I never did agree with was having to show the associates the inside of the CCTV room. Myself included, we (other LP's) believed that showing them where the cameras could see, even if it was a brief demonstration, was more of a hinderence to the LP staff.

          Let them know that they're being watched...sure! Just give out general details. Nothing more nothing less.
          "Life In Every Breath"

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          • #6
            Originally posted by LPAjh9558 View Post
            Where I worked at the store has a policy of taking new associates on a tour of the entire store "during training." The HR Mgr. will also bring any new associate back to the LPM & CCTV rooms to show them around.

            I agree that it's sometimes better to let them know what's being looked at but without all the details. Associates don't need to know everything...and if what they do know becomes a deturent then I'm all for it.

            What I never did agree with was having to show the associates the inside of the CCTV room. Myself included, we (other LP's) believed that showing them where the cameras could see, even if it was a brief demonstration, was more of a hinderence to the LP staff.

            Let them know that they're being watched...sure! Just give out general details. Nothing more nothing less.
            Why is that?
            Retail Security Consultant / Expert Witness
            Co-Author - Effective Security Management 6th Edition

            Contributor to Retail Crime, Security and Loss Prevention: An Encyclopedic Reference

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            • #7
              Play Poker and you will win

              1 of the biggest issues I have with is retail LP believing they are running a secret society where it is all a big secret from other staff. You don't show your full hand or tells playing poker or during an interview so why show everyone everyone you have ?

              Most retail staff just see the floor walkers, they don't see the exception reporting, the collation of evidence, the CCTV, the electronic journal monitoring and the targetted register resets, etc. Every induction training course I have held or been a guest speaker at, I say it how it is. I tell them straight as in "some of you will steal from this company and I am letting you know that when you are caught we have a zero tolerance".

              So that sets the scene of a no-nonsense RM team and I prefer to then show a demo of an exception reporting system to show HOW we use these tools to identify losses which lead to investigations of discrepancies and the like. Staff need to know that there is more to LP than just floor walking and that internals can be caught using many tools including cctv and IT based reports as well. Get the word out that you are serious about LP and whilst I can't give you numbers, I will let you know from experience that this positive reinforcement will have an impact on your LP results.
              "Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer" Sun Tzu

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              • #8
                Myself included, we (other LP's) believed that showing them where the cameras could see, even if it was a brief demonstration, was more of a hinderence to the LP staff.
                Just speaking for where we worked at specifically. I can't even begin to tell you how many times I had other LP's ask me; "Why do we do this in the first place?" A member of the LP team usually went into the associate orientation and talked about what it is that LP does. A lot of things are covered but again, not everything is discussed.

                There were times when either myself or another LP would be approached by an associate asking about "blind" spots...can we see this or that? It really got to be irritating at times.

                Like NRM_Oz said, most of the associates only see us walking the floor...and sometimes apprehending shoplifters. They don't see us working shrink plan reports etc. And we do let them know that it's not worth getting caught because they eventually will and when they are...it's over with. The staff does need to know how much more there is to the work that LP's do. Never show your hand or let them know what you have!
                "Life In Every Breath"

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                • #9
                  I have no problem with showing the camera room and the capabilities of the cameras. I'm not saying show them very 'nook and cranny' of the store. My recommendation, during the camera room visit, is to shut off all the monitors but one and bring up a register for all to see.

                  During the orientation talk, tell them about the tools you have at you disposal to protect the companies assets, such as exception reports, EAS, InkTags and the like.

                  NRM-OZ is correct - Loss Prevention/Security should not be a secret society. I'm among those who have worked long and hard to combat that immage.
                  Retail Security Consultant / Expert Witness
                  Co-Author - Effective Security Management 6th Edition

                  Contributor to Retail Crime, Security and Loss Prevention: An Encyclopedic Reference

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                  • #10
                    I see what you mean. That's definately something that I'll bring up the next time around
                    "Life In Every Breath"

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                    • #11
                      When I worked retail, the LPAs would do silly things like turn the monitors off if an associate had to be in the LP office.

                      Quite frankly, I knew the location of every camera. Its not hard to figure these things out.

                      Indeed, the secret society mentality doesn't do much. It must makes employees want to know more.
                      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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                      • #12
                        I was always under the impression that people began an enterprise with the idea of making or selling a line of product for the purpose of enriching lives and making a reasonable profit in doing so.
                        That means adopting a goal oriented team approach. Security, as a team member, is involved to assure profit margins are maintained. So it stands to reason that every member of the team be involved in security. LP and CCTV are parts of the security team and as such need, indeed must have, the support of the rest of the team players. Sales, stocking restocking, dsiplay personnel and leadership (supervision) must know and should care about the pluses and minuses of CCTV and LP so they can fill in to make security seamless. Something wrong with the door, the first person noticing it reports it to a designated person who notifies security for additional surveillance until it is fixed. A display blocks the view of a camera, LP or sales in an area where "items of interest" are located. Who reports to whom to assure the problem is fixed? From the senior leader to the person who sweeps the floor or hauls the trash, all must be a part of the solution, not the problem.
                        Mitigate the affects of the sticky or light fingered customer or employee
                        Enjoy the day,
                        Bill

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                        • #13
                          Those of you who have been in LE or are in LE will know that in places of high risk security, it is common to SHOW the public the new radar, or spike strip or Bell Jet Ranger Helo or some new gadget in their detection of crime. If the public see it then they may slow down or not use drugs and drive (these tests are becoming more common in Australia) or something of that nature.

                          Best example I can give is the CCTV system in London, England with some 6,000 cameras operating around the city. If you show people then some will just think twice about being idiots with the knowledge of big brother is watching.
                          "Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer" Sun Tzu

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                          • #14
                            I have had issues in the past with employees (S/Os) accusing me of spying on them when they're faced with video footage of them slacking off, walking past something that should have been attended to, or other activities. The way I look at it, the cameras were placed for the purpose of catching people doing things they're not supposed to be doing. Employees know where the cameras are and if they choose to do something where they know they *could* be watched and get caught, that's their fault. Thieves are going to steal and slackers are going to be lazy, they're just going to try to be sneakier and hide it. I believe in being as up front as possible with your employees and then when they had fair warning of what could happen there's nothing they can say when they eventually get caught.
                            The law is reason free from passion." -- Aristotle

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                            • #15
                              I kike the idea of enlisting staff into helping the Security Team in lowering losses. Posters in the break room even. Catch someone doing something RIGHT on camera, and thank them once in a while.
                              Quote me as saying I was mis-quoted.
                              Groucho Marx

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