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Are cameras really a deterent?

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  • LPGuy
    replied
    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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  • HotelSecurity
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • N. A. Corbier
    replied
    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.

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  • LPGuy
    replied
    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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  • N. A. Corbier
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • EMTjon
    replied
    I would guess that if the store has an ACTIVE LP Dept. that there is a deterrant value in that... IE... the thiefs know that Sears's folks are going to catch them, so they rip off a smaller store in the mall instead.

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  • HotelSecurity
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • N. A. Corbier
    replied
    One of the major problems of this business is that clients will choose one method, and only one method. "Cameras are fine, we don't need anything else."

    That's where the failure to respond comes in. If it deters crime, great. If it does not, then a response must be mounted, or there will be loss of property or life.

    Cameras deter some of the people some of the time. Its when its not that time does something else need to "pick up the slack" and deal with the issue as it unfolds. This could be an alarm, a human, a machine, or an animal.

    Leave a comment:


  • LPGuy
    replied
    Originally posted by HotelSecurity
    Monitoring the cameras is using them as a tool to catch the people. It is not detering them.
    Cameras deter criminals whether or not they are monitored. You obviously cannot tell when criminals are deterred because they usually don't report to you and say, "Hey, buddy, I was going to break into that car over there until I saw a security camera outside."

    Criminals cannot know whether or not cameras are being monitored so the deterrence effect will remain the same. CCTV is an integral part of my everday job. I can tell you that, whether monitored or not, it does in fact deter crime. I could list numerous examples from my job, but for example:

    My department store is located in a mall. Despite having a public transit stop in our parking lot, we experience very few vehicle prowls/thefts when compared to the rest of the mall. Why? Probably because we are the only store with visible exterior cameras in the parking lot.

    Again, cameras will not deter everyone. They will not deter people who may believe the cameras are not in a position to catch them. Thus, I arrest people who steal items while in fitting rooms, because they feel that they are not being monitored there. The criminals who are deterred are the silent minority. The deterrence will displace the crime to another location, but you'll never hear about it.

    Arguing that "cameras are not a deterrent" is a illogical argument that you can't possibly support, because you've not interviewed everyone who has ever come into contact with cameras while contemplating committing a crime. In your experience, cameras alone are not usually a deterrent.

    One simple security measure generally will not be much of a deterrent. Couple it with other measures, however, and you'll notice changes.

    Leave a comment:


  • Mr. Security
    replied
    Originally posted by HotelSecurity
    Just to be clear. The ones that stopped the mischief where you live are not monitored & no one responded to the mischief?
    That's a "roger." In fact, they are "dummy" cameras.

    Leave a comment:


  • Bill Warnock
    replied
    CCTV coverage may not deter as some miscreants do not care if they are seen or not. It does help in solving many crimes. It like many other aids in security and law enforcement is but a tool, another winnowing agent.
    Enjoy the day,
    Bill

    Leave a comment:


  • HotelSecurity
    replied
    Originally posted by Mr. Security
    I did. The results were mixed with no clear answer. Reminds me of a trial where the state puts their "expert" witnesses on the stand and the defense does likewise. In the end, it all comes down to who the jury feels is more credible. Some juries will even disregard ALL expert witness testimony as biased based on whom they testify for.

    The same is true with this topic. I believe they are a deterrent because they have stopped criminal mischief where I live. You believe they aren't because of your experience with them. Do you see what I'm getting at?
    Just to be clear. The ones that stopped the mischief where you live are not monitored & no one responded to the mischief?

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  • Mr. Security
    replied
    Originally posted by HotelSecurity
    Don/t bet too much. Do an internet search on the subject! Again I stress - unmonitored cameras with no other response.
    I did. The results were mixed with no clear answer. Reminds me of a trial where the state puts their "expert" witnesses on the stand and the defense does likewise. In the end, it all comes down to who the jury feels is more credible. Some juries will even disregard ALL expert witness testimony as biased based on whom they testify for.

    The same is true with this topic. I believe they are a deterrent because they have stopped criminal mischief where I live. You believe they aren't because of your experience with them. Do you see what I'm getting at?

    Leave a comment:


  • HotelSecurity
    replied
    Originally posted by Mr. Security
    Thanks on the rate. I'm thinking that that was a fluke. Two hotels aren't enough to base a conclusion on. It would be interesting to compare a number of sites, some with cameras/signs and the others without it. Now, if the incident rate remained the same, then one could make a case for cameras having no deterrent value. I'm betting that the opposite would prove true.
    Don/t bet too much. Do an internet search on the subject! Again I stress - unmonitored cameras with no other response.

    Leave a comment:


  • Mr. Security
    replied
    Originally posted by HotelSecurity
    One hotel had visable cameras & big UNDER SURVEILLANCE signs in BOTH Offical languages. The cameras were not monitored & there was no one to respond even if they were. The other hotel had no cameras & no signs. The amount of thefts was the same.(And the special rate is still available!)
    Thanks on the rate. I'm thinking that that was a fluke. Two hotels aren't enough to base a conclusion on. It would be interesting to compare a number of sites, some with cameras/signs and the others without it. Now, if the incident rate remained the same, then one could make a case for cameras having no deterrent value. I'm betting that the opposite would prove true.

    Leave a comment:

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