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Are cameras really a deterent?

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  • #61
    Originally posted by HotelSecurity
    Wandering a little off topic (like I often do!) I'm not trying to be a smart a** but could someone explain to me how plainclothes LP security deter thefts? Is it the fact that the criminals know there are floor detectives working or is deterence not a factor, only apprehension? It's not hard for me to spot a plan clothed LP guy & I'm not a professional criminal.
    Deterrence through threat of getting caught. The pro will look for lapses in LP, the kid will take his chances and look forward to the fight, and the desperate have no other choice.

    All in all, LP is focused on apprehension, the response. The customer service representatives are supposed to be the first line of deterrence.
    Some Kind of Commando Leader

    "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

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    • #62
      Originally posted by N. A. Corbier
      Deterrence through threat of getting caught. The pro will look for lapses in LP, the kid will take his chances and look forward to the fight, and the desperate have no other choice.

      All in all, LP is focused on apprehension, the response. The customer service representatives are supposed to be the first line of deterrence.
      N. A. Corbier, you're exactly right. There are many measures in place in a retail store that are intended to deter theft, such as employees, EAS, ink tags, cameras, cables, locks, caselines, etc. Plainclothes LP serves as an pro-active response to theft and look for people attempting to bypass the deterence measures. Some stores (Target is a good example) use uniformed security officers in addition to plainclothes officers.

      Yes, many thieves know that loss prevention works plainclothes. It's a continual cat-and-mouse game with them. When they feel that they are being observed, they will oftentimes ditch the concealed merchandise and just try again on a different day or at a different store.

      Originally posted by Hotel Security
      It's not hard for me to spot a plan clothed LP guy & I'm not a professional criminal.
      No offense to your observation skills, but I wouldn't be so sure of that. You'd be very surprised at the types of folks who work loss prevention... very few of the loss prevention officers I know or have met (from a variety of retailers) are your stereotypical security officer type. Even having worked LP for some time now I would have difficulty picking them out of a crowd unless I observed overt actions on their part (talking into a radio, etc.).

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      • #63
        I had a guy at my Wal-Mart when I was on "vacation" that was a CJ student. He wore AllState Center (The local police academy through the JC) t-shirts, he had the high and tight, he screamed "I am a rookie law enforcement officer." First time he was loitering around electronics, I noticed him and asked him if I could help him. He took an interview stance with me and put his off hand up. I suddenly forgot where I was working, so you have this guy in a blue coat (I did not like the vest look, so I wore a vest that was so huge it looked like a coat) squaring off with this guy in a cop t-shirt. It was a great sight, the little old lady working with me noted.

        He had severe issues with "people getting in my way," i.e. proactive deterrence. He was all about the apprehensions. He didn't last after he got his butt kicked. Walmart did not arm their LP with anything, including handcuffs. The only thing you could do was call a code and pray we weren't busy to go assist you.

        The next guy was career LP. Shaggy hair, big beard, looked like a dead head. It took me a week to spot him, I thought he was an active shopper, but then he stopped shopping and started trying to "steal" stuff (he was stealing our bait PS2 boxes to put around the store for bait...) and we figured out he was LP.
        Some Kind of Commando Leader

        "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

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        • #64
          LPGUY

          Not many people shop 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week. Don't you guys get known after a while? Also isn't there usually some type of a sign such as an earpiece of a walkie-talkie? If I was a professional shop-lifter I would study my opposition We have gangs that steal laptops in hotels. Some hotels still use plainclothed people. These gangs know who they are. Amatures probably don't. Who causes your bigger losses (not including employees) professionals or amatures?

          Since I believe strongly in prevention over apprehesion I like the idea of uniformed security in stores.
          I enforce rules and regulations, not laws.
          Security Officers. The 1st First Responders.

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          • #65
            Originally posted by HotelSecurity
            LPGUY

            Not many people shop 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week. Don't you guys get known after a while? Also isn't there usually some type of a sign such as an earpiece of a walkie-talkie? If I was a professional shop-lifter I would study my opposition We have gangs that steal laptops in hotels. Some hotels still use plainclothed people. These gangs know who they are. Amatures probably don't. Who causes your bigger losses (not including employees) professionals or amatures?
            You have to keep in mind that your average person can't remember what the guy they were talking to five minutes ago looked like, let alone someone they might see on a once-a-week basis. The average person's memory skills are not very sharp unless they have actually worked to strengthen it. Most shoppers and/or amateur thieves do not frequent a store often enough to start identifying LP, especially when the LP team consists of (perhaps) half a dozen people. I know the frequent shoppers in our store, and I can almost guarantee that they've probably never given me a second thought--your typical person just isn't that observant. Most people aren't trained to "observe and report" as a lot of us security folks are.

            I've known a female LP officer to use a radio earpiece (that her hair covered), but most male officers that I know do not. As far as professional shoplifters go... sure, those are the types that will case a store thoroughly. Many of them have been stealing for far longer than I have been catching thieves. Your true professional steals only small amounts of merchandise for personal use, and they are difficult to detect. These are the types of people that play the constant game. They work to figure out who we are and we work to figure out who they are. Your second type of professional shoplifter are the grab & run types. They come in as a gang, look for LP, and if the coast is clear, they run out the doors with armloads of clothing. They are much easier to spot (they are very obvious the moment they walk in the doors) but they are also far more nervous and will leave if they even suspect you are LP.

            A good 75% of shoplifters are truly amateurs and are very easy to detect and apprehend. They will not case a store prior to shoplifting and you probably won't ever see them again anyways once you've prosecuted and trespassed them, informing them that they'll be charged with burglary if they come back and shoplift again.


            Originally posted by HotelSecurity
            Since I believe strongly in prevention over apprehesion I like the idea of uniformed security in stores.
            Uniformed security can be helpful in certain situations in the retail world, usually to stand near the doors (being a visible deterrence) and also to assist plainclothes LP in apprehensions. On their own, though, they would not deter much theft at all. Thieves would merely go to the back of the store, steal, then walk past the uniformed security officer on their way out. That's why stores like Target use a combination of the two.

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