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  • Bad stops. Unproductive Stops. Failed apprehensions.

    Bad stops. Unproductive Stops. Failed apprehension.

    No matter what you call them they are bad. Having a poor stop is every undercovers nightmare. Upon the initial realization that thier subject is an honest customer there's that pit in thier stomachs of..."oh no". Not only for ruining a guests experience in thier store and possible image of your company, but thier reputation and even worse thier termination.

    But these incidents occur. Circumstances arise that even at times, the most seasoned detectives could make an error in judgment. What is more important is how we as a team learn from them and continue working, confidently.

    I am interested on what my peers thoughts are in concern with bad stops? Why they occur, what measures we can take to prevent them, decision making post bad stop and what we can learn from them.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Charles Torres View Post
    Bad stops. Unproductive Stops. Failed apprehension.

    No matter what you call them they are bad. Having a poor stop is every undercovers nightmare. Upon the initial realization that thier subject is an honest customer there's that pit in thier stomachs of..."oh no". Not only for ruining a guests experience in thier store and possible image of your company, but thier reputation and even worse thier termination.

    But these incidents occur. Circumstances arise that even at times, the most seasoned detectives could make an error in judgment. What is more important is how we as a team learn from them and continue working, confidently.

    I am interested on what my peers thoughts are in concern with bad stops? Why they occur, what measures we can take to prevent them, decision making post bad stop and what we can learn from them.


    The reasons they occur? Way too many factors in that answer. Whether it's lack of training, cowboy antics, pressure due to productivity or lack of the list goes on. Sometimes you'll get on a roll with cases and the blinders go on. Missing a step as simple as entry to the department could give you the NPD when you failed to see the subject enter with an item.

    Ways to prevent them? Aside from following the steps and using better judgement I really can't think of any other way. Although I should say following the steps does not always mean you won't get an NPD. Various things can occur but by following the steps you can better protect yourself from termination/litigation (for the most part).

    What can we learn? That's all case specific and can differ stop from stop. "When in doubt, let it out" has to be one of the smartest things I've heard on this job. While it may be frustrating watching merch go out the door due to an element or two missing, it beats the suspension/termination.
    Sergeant Phil Esterhaus: "Hey, let's be careful out there.."

    THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ON THIS WEBSITE/BLOG ARE MINE ALONE AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF MY EMPLOYER.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by zm88 View Post
      The reasons they occur? Way too many factors in that answer. Whether it's lack of training, cowboy antics, pressure due to productivity or lack of the list goes on. Sometimes you'll get on a roll with cases and the blinders go on. Missing a step as simple as entry to the department could give you the NPD when you failed to see the subject enter with an item.

      Ways to prevent them? Aside from following the steps and using better judgement I really can't think of any other way. Although I should say following the steps does not always mean you won't get an NPD. Various things can occur but by following the steps you can better protect yourself from termination/litigation (for the most part).

      What can we learn? That's all case specific and can differ stop from stop. "When in doubt, let it out" has to be one of the smartest things I've heard on this job. While it may be frustrating watching merch go out the door due to an element or two missing, it beats the suspension/termination.

      All very useful and sound advice. Thank you.

      Additionally, the question posed wasn't meant to be taken so literal. It's purpose was to open a discussion on the topic and hear different views.

      Comment


      • #4
        When I set up loss prevention (I prefer that term over asset protection, and I'll explain why) team for a new location, I've put together a loss prevention training program that covers steps to arrest and recovery in detail.

        I like the term loss prevention because, in my view, that is what you're supposed to do. All of the clients that I interact with that we provide these services for agree that the end result should be reduced or consistently low shrink/loss. Our loss prevention agents then are trained to prevent loss.

        If you come to the same conclusion, then we can probably also agree that preventing loss should be the primary job descriptor for an agent, not making apprehensions or arrests. That doesn't mean that we don't do that, but it should mean that it's the means to an end, and not the end itself.

        My agents make apprehensions, but recovery is absolutely just as important. It's very important to follow the steps and know if you've missed a step. I believe that if the steps are followed, you won't get a bad stop, but if you don't know if you've missed a step, that is where the problem occurs.

        How to prevent bad stops? Focus on recoveries. A shoplifter will probably come back, so without making contact at all, make your presence and your observation known. Chances are, they will ditch whatever they might have attempted to steal and they will leave.

        Even if he memorizes who you are, you can get recoveries from him going forward, and you've consistently prevented loss.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Caedes View Post
          If you come to the same conclusion, then we can probably also agree that preventing loss should be the primary job descriptor for an agent, not making apprehensions or arrests. That doesn't mean that we don't do that, but it should mean that it's the means to an end, Focus on recoveries. A shoplifter will probably come back, so without making contact at all, make your presence and your observation known. Chances are, they will ditch whatever they might have attempted to steal and they will leave.

          Even if he memorizes who you are, you can get recoveries from him going forward, and you've consistently prevented loss.

          Really great points you bring up in concern with recoveries. Recoveries are just as important as apprehensions are and complete the number one task, preventing loss. In my experience when recoveries are pushed just as much as cases are shrinkage and unproductives drop. Fostering that culture really generates results.

          Leaders should recognize thier team and stay positive on the recovered merchandise. Rather then over pressuring thier team to make goals on apprehensions.

          Comment


          • #6
            End goal is safe recovery. At the same time prosecution of the SL and or civil recovery doesn't hurt either.
            Sergeant Phil Esterhaus: "Hey, let's be careful out there.."

            THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ON THIS WEBSITE/BLOG ARE MINE ALONE AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF MY EMPLOYER.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Charles Torres View Post
              Really great points you bring up in concern with recoveries. Recoveries are just as important as apprehensions are and complete the number one task, preventing loss. In my experience when recoveries are pushed just as much as cases are shrinkage and unproductives drop. Fostering that culture really generates results.

              Leaders should recognize thier team and stay positive on the recovered merchandise. Rather then over pressuring thier team to make goals on apprehensions.
              Some companies want apprehensions. They have goals. That's how they measure productivity. What are the leaders to do then? Use their personal opinions over company goals?

              Asset Protection is more broad than Loss Prevention and those departments are involved in more than just inventory losses/etc.

              It's easy to minimize bad stops, however you can never eliminate due to the human element. I have seen more bad stops happen due to small items than bigger items. The lower the value, the higher the risk and the more NPDs.

              When emotion comes into play, bad stops happen.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by capurato View Post
                Some companies want apprehensions. They have goals. That's how they measure productivity. What are the leaders to do then? Use their personal opinions over company goals?
                You're absolutely right in that managers want to be able to measure productivity, and I absolutely agree that they should. But what I have found is that if a company decides to use arrest numbers as a metric to measure performance, then they have really missed the point of what a true loss prevention team should do. The caveat being typical "contract" loss prevention, or floorwalkers, perhaps they would focus on the apprehensions because they are typically not involved in any other area of loss prevention than external shoplifters.

                I've found that if companies put too much emphasis on arrest numbers, then they may observe positive productivity when they are actually experiencing the opposite. I could arrest 10 shoplifters who go after a bottle of soda a week, but if I miss one or two shoplifters that are taking $300 worth of meat and cheese or electronics, even if my apprehensions show that I'm being productive, the reality is that I'm not - I'm not focusing on the correct merchandise, etc.

                Your team could make 50 stops a month, but the true metric to measure productivity and performance is the bottom line - the actual shrink/loss percentage, and reports that outline what sort of merchandise was targeted. You could arrest all of the shoplifters in the world, but if your location's problem is actually internal theft and you've failed to identify it because you're measured by apprehensions, then that's a bad case for your loss prevention team.

                What focusing on the bottom line does for us in the industry is that it allows us to actually identify whether or not our loss prevention strategies are working. I primarily consult, so I analyze cases and identify ways that the loss prevention program can be improved to prevent the likelihood that the same items would be targeted, reducing the need for an apprehension or a recovery. When I managed loss prevention teams, I did the same thing - we would look at what was stolen, how it was stolen, and what strategies we could put in place to reduce the likelihood that the same person would have tried to steal the item the first time. This is what effective loss prevention departments are all about. Of course, apprehensions and arrests are tools of our trade, but the focus should be on preventing loss.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I've been following this thread and thought I would add my thoughts:

                  capurato (and all) - "Asset Protection is more broad than Loss Prevention and those departments are involved in more than just inventory losses/etc."

                  Asset Protection vs. Loss Prevention - that battle and comparison has been going on for many many years. I've worked for companies whose departments were called Loss Prevention and Asset Prevention. In those companies the Security Department was equally involved in all phases of detecting and combating shrink, whether it be apprehending shoplifters, burning shoplifters and making recoveries, audit, inventory controls (including securing high shrink stockrooms and adding more wrap desks in high shrink departments). Everything that "asset protection" does - "loss prevention" does. It depends on the company to what degree.

                  Notice I through in the term "Security Department". The only difference is what a company wants to call their department - it's like the flavor of the week thing. When I was involved in writing Retail Crime, Security and Loss Prevention Loss I was included in the naming of the book. The thought was our industry/profession has been called every name in the book and we wanted to cover as many bases we could.

                  About the name "Security Department", this is where it all started from. Somewhere along the line people started calling it Loss Prevention which was fine for awhile and then the term Asset Protection came about. Other terms include Loss Control and Theft Reduction Department. They are all just fancy names for retail security employees.

                  I can tell you that whenever I testify for a deposition or in court I universally use the term "Security" as the Judge and Jury readily understand what that means. Don't get caught up in using fancy names and terms - "it is what it is" Security.

                  I have a friend who is the "Head of Security" for a 2000+ store retailer along with all of their support facilities. They are so big they have their own armored car service and their own alarm installer/repair service. He has thousands of employees that report to him. The first time I met him he gave me his company business card, which simply read Head of Security.

                  Now for the topic of using arrest numbers to gauge performance. This is all part of determining the effectiveness of retail security employees. Most retailers do it and it is quite acceptable as long that is not the sole measurement applied. The problem is when the production numbers and results are posted in the security offices and it becomes a contest amongst the staff - that is when the excrement hits the fan and in lawsuits the big settlement dollars come into play.

                  I was once working on the defense side of a lawsuit and part of my store review included the "Asset Protection" office. Leading into the camera room I found a very elaborate chart showing apprehensions weekly, monthly and accumulative totals for each employee. The employees that met "goals" were rewarded with stars. Those who were not doing so well had negative comments. I told the VP of Asset Protection that he immediately needed to stop the practice as it would come back to burn him and his company (a well known national company).
                  Last edited by Curtis Baillie; 12-29-2014, 12:32 PM.
                  Retail Security Consultant / Expert Witness
                  Co-Author - Effective Security Management 6th Edition

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

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    How can anyone of us be certain that we (or the store











                    How can I be sure that my store won't be sued for a non-productive stop, even if I've followed all six steps?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Mick View Post
                      How can anyone of us be certain that we (or the store











                      How can I be sure that my store won't be sued for a non-productive stop, even if I've followed all six steps?
                      You can't. Following the 6-step guidelines reduces the possibility. I'm frequently retained in litigation on "bad stops."
                      Retail Security Consultant / Expert Witness
                      Co-Author - Effective Security Management 6th Edition

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

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mick View Post
                        How can anyone of us be certain that we (or the store











                        How can I be sure that my store won't be sued for a non-productive stop, even if I've followed all six steps?
                        Exactly as Curtis has already stated, you can't. What you can be reasonably sure of, though, is if you follow the steps and you're comfortable that you followed the steps, you will have a shoplifting case. I'm willing to be that Curtis would agree with me when I suggest that it's much more difficult to win a "bad stop" suit when you've correctly been documented and stopped for theft.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Just a little addition to this. I find that some bad stops occur because a company will "alter" the original 6-steps guidelines. Meaning that they try to make it the 5-steps or 4-steps. Some times they trying combining steps which may dilute the whole guideline process.

                          The most popular deletion I have found is the elimination of the 6th step which says, "Detain the customer outside the store (if required by state law) or after the customer passes the last point of sale." Companies that operate in States that allow for detainment inside the store (concealment laws) and have eliminated that last step are just begging to be sued. I know of cases where detainment was made in the store and the defendants testified, in criminal court, that they never left the store and their intention was to pay for the merchandise and LP stopped them before they had a chance to pay. Juries believed that and found them not guilty. This leaves the company liable for a civil suit.
                          Last edited by Curtis Baillie; 01-02-2015, 07:18 PM.
                          Retail Security Consultant / Expert Witness
                          Co-Author - Effective Security Management 6th Edition

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

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Curtis Baillie View Post
                            Just a little addition to this. I find that some bad stops occur because a company will "alter" the original 6-steps guidelines. Meaning that they try to make it the 5-steps or 4-steps. Some times they trying combining steps which may dilute the whole guideline process.

                            The most popular deletion I have found is the elimination of the 6th step which says, "Detain the customer outside the store (if required by state law) or after the customer passes the last point of sale." Companies that operate in States that allow for detainment inside the store (concealment laws) and have eliminated that last step are just begging to be sued. I know of cases where detainment was made in the store and the defendants testified, in criminal court, that they never left the store and their intention was to pay for the merchandise and LP stopped them before they had a chance to pay. Juries believed that and found them not guilty. This leaves the company liable for a civil suit.
                            We use 5 steps. Entry, selection, concealment, continuous observation and exit. Although MA considers the act of concealing shoplifting, we wait til they leave. Too any people with weird/crazy shopping habbits
                            Sergeant Phil Esterhaus: "Hey, let's be careful out there.."

                            THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ON THIS WEBSITE/BLOG ARE MINE ALONE AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF MY EMPLOYER.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by zm88 View Post
                              We use 5 steps. Entry, selection, concealment, continuous observation and exit. Although MA considers the act of concealing shoplifting, we wait til they leave. Too any people with weird/crazy shopping habbits
                              I think safety comes into play as well. It's safer to detain someone past the last point of sale as they are attempting to exit than in the middle of the parking lot.

                              Comment

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