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  • Changing styles . . .

    I've been an LP for 2.5 years now. I worked for a popular electronics retailer at the door and uniformed. We watched the cameras at the door so camera use isn't a problem. I started working for a department store as a plain clothes detective about two months ago. Any suggestions on how to adapt from a highly visible (camera focused) position to a plain clothes (mostly floorwalker) position?

  • #2
    You're going to need to learn how to act. You're probably proficient at reading the signs of dishonesty after seeing it so many times on camera. The challenge for you now is to be able to do so while also working the floor and maintaining surveillance.

    Hopefully your new employer has a good training program in place. I would start by observing legitimate shoppers. How do people who aren't stealing behave? Those are the mannerisms that you want to adopt while you working. It takes some practice but your goal is to look like you're shopping while in fact you are observing other customers for signs of theft.

    You also will need to become proficient at surveillance techniques, such as learning the proper "angles of surveillance" and how to follow people. Know the layout of your store, your blind spots and corners. You want to be able to maintain surveillance of a subject and your merchandise. Know where you can observe without being seen yourself, and know the areas where subjects will be able to duck behind displays and conceal merchandise.

    I've seen officers that have come from stores that place a heavy emphasis on camera usage have a little trouble with plainclothes surveillance. It'll take some time to learn to act natural but it'll come with practice. Good luck!

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    • #3
      Originally posted by JacksonLP View Post
      I worked for a popular electronics retailer at the door and uniformed.
      You mention having worked uniformed in the past. Keep in mind that you will also need to alter the way that you carry yourself. Part of wearing a uniform is the way that you carry yourself, oftentimes looking at everyone in a sort of analyzing method. It's hard to describe but you see it when you observe someone who is standing guard.

      That's what you'll need to get rid of. If you're in plainclothes but still have presence about you that screams "cop" (or military/security, etc.) you'll be a dead give-away. Remember that in this position, you need to be an actor, and that means acting like a typical shopper.

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      • #4
        Acting is good advice. Consider some changes of clothes / hats during your shift, but remember to dress like other shoppers.
        Quote me as saying I was mis-quoted.
        Groucho Marx

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        • #5
          Act like other shopers? Surely you don't mean the walmart shoppers who toss everything on the floor, open every bag, take something halfway across the store the leave it in the wrong space etc. Although it sure would be good cover

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          • #6
            Originally posted by craig333 View Post
            Act like other shopers? Surely you don't mean the walmart shoppers who toss everything on the floor, open every bag, take something halfway across the store the leave it in the wrong space etc. Although it sure would be good cover
            I think I've done most of those depending upon the circumstances and/or the role I was playing.

            I've even roleplayed as a shoplifter as well.

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            • #7
              Hopefully you're going through a training and orientation period where you are working with experienced detectives. The advise given by others is good.

              Remember to work the back areas of the store as this is where thieves tend to conceal your merchandise. This also is where they "pile" or stage merchandise to conceal when they think the coast is clear.

              Good luck and remember to follow your company's policies.
              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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