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  • Loss Prevention Cross-Company Communication

    I believe that to be the worst possible title for the thread that I could possible come up with but I could think of anything else. Now back to my point.

    I want to create an environment in the plazas nearby where I work where our Home Depot doesn't think twice about calling up the Walgreen's across the street. Now while that is a weird example I think you understand what I am getting at. There is absolutely zero contact between loss prevention departments in our nearby plazas. Well there maybe contact and we are out of the loop but being the only big box retailer with the largest of all local loss prevention departments I would see us a being more of a resource than anyone else.

    After that little spiel let me set up the situation. I work for a big box retailer in loss prevention. I am the lowest man on the totem pole with the exception of the prefix to my title which basically just implies my seniority. Now I work at a low volume low risk location. We don't have many hours to work with but we also don't have too many security incidents to deal with which gives us ample time to improve our trade. I want to do that by improving or better yet opening lines of communication between the various nearby retailers. I'm am well aware of our(the company I work for) communication with companies at more of a district/group level but if anything all these partnerships help are high risk stores in high risk areas(transferring information about booster groups active in these areas). While this is well and good I think even lower risk areas could benefit from this sort of cross company communication.

    So here is where I am at in this little adventure. I made contact with all of the nearby stores with the exception of like Starbucks, Circle K and the fast food restaurants. I received mixed responses which didn't really surprise too much but I'm not sure If I should continue to pursue this or run away and blame one of our other guys. A couple groceries nearby either were hesitant in saying they had loss prevention or were completely open to the idea. Some stores told me that they didn't have anybody in at the time but gave me personal cell phone numbers which I thought was kind of weird. The last store I called quizzed me like I was trying to plan a heist of their store or something. Not during one of these calls did I actually speak with anyone from anything resembling a loss prevention department. While I am not discouraged I am unsure of how to further sell the idea. I think I'm still trying to sell the idea to myself actually.

    My questions for you guys are: What fears do you have with this? What do you see possible going wrong? Do you guys think this could work out at all? Do you see this benefiting all parties involved or a coupe stores becoming a crutch for everyone else? If you guys were going to go about this how would you do it?

    Thanks in advance for any responses I receive. I'm not sure why I am so stuck on this idea I just want to kind of flesh it out and see what happens.

    Also as a slight side note if you guys are in Arizona you should totally join azorca.org. Its really small and slow right now but I have no doubt this will be an awesome resource in the future.

  • #2
    Which retailer do you work for? And actually that sounds like a really good idea. Especially for ORC issues. At my company we do co-operate with our other stores in the area. By that I mean if there is a Belk 10 miles down the road our LP Dept and the LP Dept there work together sharing information and known shoplifters. To the best of my knowledge though I don't think we co-operate with other stores on a store to store level.

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    • #3
      I think you got some mixed responses because you are calling and not actually introducing yourself in person. I've organized many such groups and they were all successful. In the end, a company will pass on only the info they want to.

      One thing that was successful was the passing along of names of people that had been terminated for theft.
      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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      • #4
        Communication

        I am employed by Target(that felt slightly uncomfortable) and ya it could have been my approach towards the situation. The only problem I see is that in my current position (Sr.TPS) I wear a uniform that includes a badge with a Target symbol in the middle and a flag on my shoulder. This has elicited not such a positive response in the past. Its either guys showing me there guard card then finding out I'm in-house disregarding me as some sort of wall support or meeting other LP agents while out and after finding out my position not take me seriously. I cant say I blame them even threads on here that speak about my role assume I am a greeter that does merchandise audits occasionally. Now after sounding all pessimistic and negative let me straighten this up. I felt that this would have a negative impact on attempted communications with neighboring lost prevention departments but its something Ill try when I get back to that location later this week.

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        • #5
          The downtown merchants in Montreal have such an arrangement. They send emails to each other. The hotels also have one.
          I enforce rules and regulations, not laws.
          Security Officers. The 1st First Responders.

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          • #6
            Once a month, the heads of all the local major loss prevention departments actually do meet and share information regarding trends and statistics. It is very helpful and I believe it gives us a noted advantage over shoplifters in the area.

            However, it does become complicated because due to Privacy laws, different companies have different policies regarding what kind of information can be provided, and to whom. For example, you aren't going to receive CCTV footage or photos of people suspected of shoplifting, because that would cause a lot of possible liability issues.

            Our meetings are directed more toward what is the new trend, what methods are being used, and if there's been a noted increase of violence, etc as opposed to who.

            In order to make it fair, everybody offers the most information that the restricted participant can offer; if people want to share more information afterward, "behind the scenes", that is their prerogative. But it is a resource that is very effective and that works.

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            • #7
              I imagine so...Shame they won't take it further,that would make it truly helpful.

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              • #8
                I work in an area across from a giant mall and where we have four big box retailers in a row. We get a lot of LP networking help as our local police department has a retail crime unit and shares booster info and intelligence. We also assist our neighbors a lot as we are usually the first hit in the line and the boosters will typically go for all four. We also are the only store with PTZs outside so we have a huge advantage for relaying their travel. We also sometimes miss something for an apprehension, but since they usually hit the next store, we relay info and our neighbors can take them for a theft over there and then the police are able to recover our merchandise too. We are fortunate to have very good LP network.

                I would keep working on your contact with the other retailers. My biggest problem has always been reaching the actual LP department. I've noticed they usually transfer you to the manager on duty when you ask for LP and the manager will usually not transfer you to LP, but offer to relay your message. I would try to only discuss your networking idea with LP directly. Once you get to know them you can just ask to be transferred to their extension or ask for them by code. We just know everyone's extensions and codes so we don't have to deal with talking to a manager for 20 minutes!

                I do know one of our other near by stores has gone as far as having radio communication with all the retailers in the area. The have quite a communication system set up, but not really sure how they go that going! Good luck, partnerships in LP are always positive!
                Asset Protection- We're paid to be paranoid... How can you beat that!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by AP716 View Post
                  I work in an area across from a giant mall and where we have four big box retailers in a row. We get a lot of LP networking help as our local police department has a retail crime unit and shares booster info and intelligence. We also assist our neighbors a lot as we are usually the first hit in the line and the boosters will typically go for all four. We also are the only store with PTZs outside so we have a huge advantage for relaying their travel. We also sometimes miss something for an apprehension, but since they usually hit the next store, we relay info and our neighbors can take them for a theft over there and then the police are able to recover our merchandise too. We are fortunate to have very good LP network.

                  I would keep working on your contact with the other retailers. My biggest problem has always been reaching the actual LP department. I've noticed they usually transfer you to the manager on duty when you ask for LP and the manager will usually not transfer you to LP, but offer to relay your message. I would try to only discuss your networking idea with LP directly. Once you get to know them you can just ask to be transferred to their extension or ask for them by code. We just know everyone's extensions and codes so we don't have to deal with talking to a manager for 20 minutes!

                  I do know one of our other near by stores has gone as far as having radio communication with all the retailers in the area. The have quite a communication system set up, but not really sure how they go that going! Good luck, partnerships in LP are always positive!
                  As I imagine it would be effective, I don't know how you could report a person who didn't steal (as far as you are aware) to another corporation without potentially facing huge lawsuits.

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                  • #10
                    Back when I worked LP for a well-known big-box store, I also attempted to network with the other stores in the area. Reaching the LP departments of many of these stores can be difficult because half the time they think you may be up to something, and the other half they are probably not at the desk. Anyhow, once I reached out to a few of the local LP departments, it turned out that there was already a network established and they invited me to join them. We exchanged information at monthly meetings as well as an email listing. It worked out pretty well.

                    Unfortunately, some businesses have fears of liability by being involved in the affairs of other businesses. Also, management of some of the larger stores weren't too fond of their LP departments working together out of fear that company procedures would be leaked, or that the LP officers would stray from company procedure for a more efficient method.

                    The whole liability issue is what got me out of the LP Network I was in. After some of the other businesses discovered that our guys are armed, they wanted nothing to do with us out of fear of being sued. Their rationale was if we shot somebody that they assisted us with, they could be sued as well.

                    Anyhow, I recommend to keep pressing on. The best thing to do is show up on site rather than making calls. I'm sure that once you explain how valuable a network of LP officers would be, they will probably join your cause. Good luck!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Lpeon View Post
                      I am employed by Target(that felt slightly uncomfortable) and ya it could have been my approach towards the situation. The only problem I see is that in my current position (Sr.TPS) I wear a uniform that includes a badge with a Target symbol in the middle and a flag on my shoulder. This has elicited not such a positive response in the past. Its either guys showing me there guard card then finding out I'm in-house disregarding me as some sort of wall support or meeting other LP agents while out and after finding out my position not take me seriously. I cant say I blame them even threads on here that speak about my role assume I am a greeter that does merchandise audits occasionally. Now after sounding all pessimistic and negative let me straighten this up. I felt that this would have a negative impact on attempted communications with neighboring lost prevention departments but its something Ill try when I get back to that location later this week.
                      I could tell that you worked there from your first post! Before you start off any retail organization you should talk to your APBP first. Some times they don't like you going behind their back and just sharing information left and right but mainly they just want to make sure that you aren't giving away all of Targets secrets. Once you have approval try to get into contact with your local PD and talk to the chief about your idea of forming a committee. A lot of times they are actually willing to help you out by providing additional training for you and your staff, such as what the cart attendant should be looking out for when it comes to break ins/ect.

                      Overall, its going to take a bit of work but once the kinks are worked out it should do well. From what I remember, most grocery stores hire outside LP. Also main drug stores are all regionally based so you might not have luck getting into contact with them.

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                      • #12
                        Any networking with a few professionals is always a good thing as long as you follow your companies rules,regs and policy, sitting down with your LP chief " first " is the only way to go. COC always comes first, you can bet, there will always be another big ORC, internal, and theft collars to be made. Like the LP guys have said, your better off walking into the store and heading over to the LP Dept, you'll know where it's at, introduce yourself to the LP Chief, exchange cell phone and office numbers, nothing wrong with a little Intel sharing, a collar and a take down.
                        Pop Pop - It reminds me of an old statement by my Master Sergeant. "A Good Run is better then a Bad Stand".

                        Sec Trainer- Pop Pop: Hope you don't mind if I quote your Master Sergeant. He was a very smart man.

                        Pop Pop- Yes Sir, Thank you Senior Instructor Sec Trainer, hope you don't mind if I place your quote into my Signature?

                        Sec Trainer- Permission granted, recruit. Now, police the company area!


                        flat out cool..

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