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"I Can See Myself" Techniques

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  • "I Can See Myself" Techniques

    Question for the experts: I remember reading somewhere that techniques whereby customers can see themselves - either in a mirror or on a highly visible camera monitor - reduces theft more than cameras alone. The study I'm thinking about involved a long mirror running behind the meat cases in a grocery store and a bank where customers in line could view themselves on a very prominent monitor mounted on the wall behind the tellers.

    The psychology, if I remember correctly, was that people who steal tend to "depersonalize" the event - taking themselves "out of the picture" mentally speaking, and thereby reducing their personal responsibility for the act. When they are forced to see themselves, they cannot engage in these mental games with themselves so easily.

    If anyone knows of any references to this "I Can See Myself" phenomenon I'd be interested in them.

    "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

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  • #2
    I majored in social psychology when I got my Criminology degree. This is very interesting, and I do recall studying this. I'm going to look into it, and cite a few references for you.


    • #3
      I have heard of this principle I think from day 1 in the industry as it is like a warning label I placed in fitting rooms of our exclusive boutique. DEAR CUSTOMERS, PLEASE BE AWARE THAT PLAIN CLOTHES SECURITY OFFICERS MONITOR THIS STORE.

      This is a psychological barrier to theft as some customers may think "hey I wonder if there is anyone out there today" that could catch me if I steal this.

      I do know that many retailers in Australia using big monitors connected to a multi-plexer that switch through SOME of the CCTV locations to show customers they are being monitored. In some locations this is a good step but in other locations it is meaningless as people will steal regardless.
      "Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer" Sun Tzu


      • #4
        I've used 'public view' cameras/monitors in limited cases. Mostly in high shrink situations such as fine jewelry departments. This was not only meant as a deterrent for customers, but employees alike. I can tell you in fine jewelry departments the smash and grab robberies were reduced.
        Retail Security Consultant / Expert Witness
        Co-Author - Effective Security Management 6th Edition

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