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  • New Security Department Help

    I am a new hire for a Wholesale food company that at the moment doesn’t have a Loss Prevention or Security Program in place…99.9% of their theft is internal and they want to take action against the people that are stealing from their company and want them to be arrested and if need be take them to court. They want me to go in and develop their program and put together their security policy’s and rules…i.e. audits of merchandise, Camera work and store security and investigations. Are there any useful resources for someone who is getting a program together?

  • #2
    You should have all that done by lunch time

    Not sure of your background / training etc. Hiring a consultant may be a good idea, there is no shame in getting help. A couple of books come to mind - Effective Security Management by Chuck Sennewald and Introduction to to Security by Fischer & Green.

    Break the items into smaller parts, access control would make a good start.
    Having Company Management buy in and authorize your work is also needed.
    Quote me as saying I was mis-quoted.
    Groucho Marx

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    • #3
      I have consulted companies here in southern Arizona that are wholesale food distributers that have the same problem. This is what I recommended to them.

      1. Access controls at all employee entrances. The system should have them enter a code or have card access to enter along with an alarm that if the door is open too long it will sound. This keeps people from being able to hold the door open to load the goods into the car and come back without using the access system. You will also know if people step out during work. (If they have a smoking area outside it should be fenced and a camera mounted to stop people from passing things over the fence)

      2. Cameras at all entrances inside. That allows you to see if someone is carrying something out.

      3. cameras in the warehouse area or entrance to employee locker room to show people stuffing things in personal backpacks, bags, etc.

      4. Parking lot cameras that show entrances and parking areas.

      5. Another option is RFID with sensors at all entrances. (expensive)

      Hope this helps. If you have any questions just PM me and I'll be glad to answer them.

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      • #4
        Rooney has some great ideas. You'll also want to designate one main entrance/exit for employees that they must use when arriving to and leaving work. You'll want to implement package check procedures at those doors. All employees' packages/purse/bags should be subject to inspection.

        You'll also want to be proactive and begin conducting surveillances. If you can get an interior camera system set up you can observe employees' work behaviors and start observing them stealing. Don't make a secret out of the new camera system. If employees understand that it is in place and being used, it'll be an effective deterrent. Don't forget to get your hands on a few covert/pinhole cameras that you can place in areas where employees are likely to conceal merchandise.

        You may even consider a reward system for employees. In my place of business, any employee who reports illegal or suspicious activity on the part of another employee receives a 10% or $100 reward (whichever is greater) based off of the amount of money/merchandise recovered from the dishonest employee. Therefore, if an employee tip leads to a dishonest employee being apprehended for theft of $1,200 in merchandise, the tipster would receive $120. I can assure you that many of the employees in your location know of dishonest activity by their fellow employees. Many would also be willing to report it, especially if there is an incentive for them to do so.

        Be sure you understand your state laws in regards to civil recovery/restitution. Many states allow for civil recovery of the amount of money/merchandise stolen or attempted to be stolen, plus a hefty civil fine on top of that. Civil recovery will help your company to recooperate its loses.

        Finally, if you're not certified in interview/interrogation skills, take some classes and get that certification. You'll always want to pull dishonest employees in for interviews and try to have them write a written confession. An effective interviewer can almost always get a dishonest employee to admit to even more thefts that you may not have known about. Make sure that you have a good solid case lined up even before the interview process.

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        • #5
          Hire a "mole" to infiltrate the gang and help you determine how they are doing it. Once you know that and the names of those involved, you can take 'em down.
          Security: Freedom from fear; danger; safe; a feeling of well-being. (Webster's)

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          • #6
            Originally posted by LPGuy
            You may even consider a reward system for employees. In my place of business, any employee who reports illegal or suspicious activity on the part of another employee receives a 10% or $100 reward (whichever is greater) based off of the amount of money/merchandise recovered from the dishonest employee. Therefore, if an employee tip leads to a dishonest employee being apprehended for theft of $1,200 in merchandise, the tipster would receive $120. I can assure you that many of the employees in your location know of dishonest activity by their fellow employees. Many would also be willing to report it, especially if there is an incentive for them to do so.
            The only problem I see with that is it may lower employee moral which may hurt productivity. I understand that if someone is stealing that is not only immoral but also illegal. Comradery in the work force is benificial to a companies success. If you do implement something like this make sure it can be done confidentialy. If so, it probably would work out. If not, it could lead to violence or revenge on the informant.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Rooney
              The only problem I see with that is it may lower employee moral which may hurt productivity. I understand that if someone is stealing that is not only immoral but also illegal. Comradery in the work force is benificial to a companies success. If you do implement something like this make sure it can be done confidentialy. If so, it probably would work out. If not, it could lead to violence or revenge on the informant.
              I work for the United States' largest high-end department store and we utilize this kind of award system. It works very well. Each and every tip is handled confidentially and all reports, etc. are only accessible to members of the loss prevention department. When you foster good relationships with the employees and become very approachable, many are more than willing to come share information with you.

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              • #8
                I have nearly 20 years of experience in downtown Toronto and other eastern provinces. Well it's pretty clear you need to establish good intelligence first. Pin cameras that no one has knowledge of or access to beside the contractor.

                Strategic hiring by the target Company of people on staff by said contractor into identified areas, to conduct verbal intelligence gathering.

                Once enough information has been gathered, then it comes down to a strategic planning session with the Management on how they would like to handle the dismissals, whether it be outright firing, if possible lay the worker(s) off, or have the employee quit (the best solution) by the mountain of evidence. Nobody realy wants to go to court no matter how nice it might be to get some of what they lost back, because it usualy doesn't work out that way for various reasons.


                There are quite a few things that need to be worked out before you can get to a saisfactory resolution, but it has been done many many times in many different enviroments.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Rooney
                  The only problem I see with that is it may lower employee moral which may hurt productivity. I understand that if someone is stealing that is not only immoral but also illegal. Comradery in the work force is benificial to a companies success. If you do implement something like this make sure it can be done confidentialy. If so, it probably would work out. If not, it could lead to violence or revenge on the informant.
                  This is very true. When I worked LP an employee came forward with some info on another employee. That info led to an arrest and eventually a few months in jail. The jailbirds boyfriend and his buddies followed the informant home from work one night and beat the living daylights out of him. He was hurt bad. The boyfriend never got prosecuted. The informant wouldn't file charges. The informant, who was a very good employee, and who had given several other tips, ended up quiting over this issue.
                  "Gun control, the theory that 110lb. women have the "right" to fistfight with 210lb. rapists. " Author Unknown

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                  • #10
                    One frequent area of loss in operations like yours is the delivery truck drivers, sometimes acting in collusion with loaders or even with customers with kickbacks, etc. The problems in this aspect of the chain can take many forms. Another potential problem area is in the inventory process itself, in which the "counts" are fiddled in one way or another. Inventory systems, incidentally, comprise a rather more complex subject than it might seem to be, and probably even more so in a field where there would likely be a lot of spoilage that has to be accounted for.

                    The solutions mentioned in posts above this one provide some very common generic options for loss prevention. No solutions are "universal" - even those that might seem to be. Whether any or all of them are appropriate to your situation (operational structure, physical layout, corporate culture, etc.) is something that has to be determined individually. Security design isn't like a shotgun. Also, if you have a union involved in this company, you're going to need to understand how the contract might limit your actions.

                    Okay, then...getting down to it: There are two basic kinds of corporate thieves - the mere opportunists and the "practitioners" - each having several subtypes. Obviously, you can influence the opportunists, who respond more readily to increasing the level of perceived risk, more easily than the practitioners and I would start with them.

                    You do this, first, by putting everyone on notice. Request the CEO himself to issue a very strongly-worded policy statement to the effect that internal theft damages the company and all of its employees, that it will not be tolerated, that theft in any form will be investigated and will be grounds for dismissal and potential prosecution at the discretion of the company, and that the company considers it to be the duty of any employee who observes or knows about such activity to report it. The statement should also make it clear that "the reasonable weight of the evidence" - not "proof beyond a reasonable doubt" - will be the standard for proving theft in this company. The statement would ideally include an anonymous 800 number for them to use for reporting theft - there are services that offer such reporting hot lines and you don't have to implement this yourself. All employees sign this policy statement and it goes in their files.

                    The matter of offering a reward has both pro's and con's, so I wouldn't do this without some careful thought as to how it would be implemented.

                    A second policy to be issued immediately is one that implements minimal standards for background checks for all new employees, to include the criminal record for all applicants, checking employment/educational references for all applicants, as well as the driving records for all drivers, of course, and credit checks for applicants who have access to critical corporate assets. Human Resources would be directed to develop a specific procedure that will see to it that these background checks are done without fail. THIS IS CRITICAL AND WILL SAVE YOU MUCH MORE THAN IT COSTS TO DO THIS.

                    A third policy statement should address the company's drug posture, including the prohibition of the use, possession or sale of illicit drugs on company property, being under the influence of drugs while on duty, and providing a drug testing program for all employees. Not only is this simply good practice, but there is often a nexus between drug use and theft. However, this is an area that does require professional consultation as there are both medical and legal issues involved.

                    ...and, you convince the CEO that ALL policies, including those already in existence, must be consistently, promptly and fairly enforced or else NO policies will have the desired effect. If this hasn't been happening, convince the CEO that this must change, and change now.

                    It might seem like "issuing policy statements" doesn't amount to much, but nothing could be further from the truth. In the first place, you need written policy statements to legally support your subsequent actions. Second, policy statements do set up the corporate culture...so long as they are followed down to the last letter by EVERYONE - including all managers - and without compromise or exception. (This is something you must get the CEO to buy into.) In turn, the corporate culture will begin to make the company not such a nice warm place for thieves to do their thing with impunity - and you'll begin to attract better employees. It's just like cleaning up a bad neighborhood...you start with the culture/atmosphere like abandoned buildings, etc. Third, policy statements are actually practical tools for management.

                    In an atmosphere of corporate expectations and promised retribution for theft, you can expect that a good deal of the opportunistic theft will be very positively impacted, especially once people see actions fitting the words. People will start to "get the picture".

                    While all this is going on, I'd start in immediately holding interviews, starting with the CEO and working my way through the lower levels of management in order to get a handle on what people already know or even suspect about the problem. It's amazing what people know or suspect but will never tell anyone about until someone simply asks them! You might get some very good "steers" in the direction of your main problem.

                    The very first question to these people would be: Do you know for a fact that you're losing merchandise/money, and if so how do you know it? Anyone who can give you a good answer to that question can then also very likely answer questions such as "When did this begin?....What is the extent of the loss?...Has it shown any sort of pattern that you've noticed?...Who do you suspect is involved? When and how do you think they are doing it?...and similar questions that might provide you with information you can run against the personnel files, for instance, or that would guide you into your first preventive steps and/or first investigations. You'll get better cooperation if you assure the interviewee that you're merely trying to understand the issues and that you're not going to rush out and arrest or fire someone on the basis of what they tell you. The interviews, by the way, should be strictly confidential so that even the CEO is not informed of WHO told you something. He should not want to know, anyway, for a variety of reasons.

                    In short, get a handle on the problem before you start implementing any security measures, and get the CEO/management to begin immediately to develop a culture of zero tolerance with respect to theft.

                    Certainly, I would check with corporate counsel before I started slinging cameras around, as there are many potential liabilities with respect to privacy in the placement of cameras. While some camera placements seem obviously permissible (the parking lot) and others obviously do not (restrooms, locker rooms, etc.), some locations will surprise you with regard to the privacy question. Cameras have brought companies to grief when they were placed at the wrong height, when they had an "inappropriately high" degree of resolution and focal range and even when the company could not justify their use for a particular application. Cameras have also brought companies to grief when their use created union problems, or caused a backlash among perfectly law-abiding employees.

                    And even when permissible, cameras must be carefully thought out anyway for obvious technical reasons. Don't place a single camera without knowing exactly what you're doing, and why.

                    Ditto with respect to searches of bags, purses, etc. There are proper and improper ways of implementing such things, so be right rather than sorry. But whatever you do, keep first things first - which is figuring out just what you're dealing with. The CEO might be demanding "immediate action", but you must convince him that charging ahead is both legally dangerous and potentially futile. The problem first must be understood before solutions are applied. Meanwhile, you might politely ask, since he wants action, when you can expect those policies you requested him to issue?

                    A final word - get management signoff on any major investigations, all camera placements, security procedures to be implemented etc. In other words, protect yourself.
                    Last edited by SecTrainer; 12-23-2006, 02:24 PM.
                    "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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                    • #11
                      SecTrainer:
                      Excellent post, excellent indeed!
                      Enjoy the day,
                      Bill

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