Design & Implement an Appropriate Shoplifting Policy
Design & Implement an Appropriate Shoplifting Policy: Post Written
Shoplifting Policy, Deterrent, Identify Intention, Foundation for
Actions Taken, Staff Training
After evaluating the risk
factors described in
Evaluate Your Shoplifting Policy Strategies
it will be necessary to design and implement
your policy. First, let’s cover the basic ground rules.
important that a retail business has a clearly defined written policy
regarding shoplifting. Many businesses post the shoplifting policy in
plain view of customers, much like a return policy.
A posted shoplifting policy serves as a
deterrent to some, but more importantly, it identifies the store’s
intentions clearly and can’t be questioned in court.
In the event a
shoplifter is apprehended by store employees, arrested by local law
enforcement and eventually prosecuted in criminal court, the written
policy serves as the company’s foundation for the actions taken.
Shoplifting: A Well-Trained Staff is Your Best Defense
It is critically important that the shoplifting policy is
explained to all employees, along with its
Primarily, the policy orientation and training serves to educate the
store employees about the methods and tactics to be utilized and job
specific requirements store employees are responsible for maintaining
when responding to a shoplifting incident.
In addition, recurrent management and staff training establishes a record of diligent effort to seek adherence for
consistent application of your designated policy. In the event that an
agent of your business goes beyond the written, trained guidelines your
retail store has established, you, as the employer are ultimately
The ability to demonstrate that your company took
diligent measures to avoid the specific problem may help prevent a
finding of negligence. The courts tend to be more unforgiving when
gross negligence can be demonstrated.
A Shoplifting Policy is Just the Beginning of a Good Loss Prevention
A ‘Shoplifting Policy’ should
not be a stand alone document, but rather, it should be a piece of an overall Loss
Prevention Program that has been designed specifically for your
business. A loss prevention professional with appropriate training,
experience and technological expertise should be utilized when designing
any Loss Prevention Program.
The actual Shoplifting Policy components should be selected from among the dozens
of available, proven strategies to fight the issue that have been
developed by retail loss prevention professionals over time. Examples
of various components include the following:
company’s stance and approach regarding shoplifting and writing a
comprehensive policy detailing same
training and orientation for new-hires, hourly employees and store
management to educate them on their responsibilities and the
techniques they are required to utilize
Designing a floor plan that improves sightlines for
employees and eliminates ‘blind spots’ within a store that might be conducive to concealing an item
Utilization of one of the many article
surveillance packages that are available from
security vendors and loss prevention consultants
implementing pro-active customer service techniques designed to
assist an honest customer and deter a potentially dishonest one by
maintaining frequent interaction while on the sales floor
Increasing the number of employees on duty to
provide better coverage on the sales floor during high-traffic hours of operation, nights and weekends
Retaining a Loss
Prevention staff to be specifically responsible for all aspects of
the Shoplifting Policy as well as additional Loss Prevention duties
Installing a camera system designed to deter
and/or apprehend shoplifters within
security cages or other physical measures to protect expensive,
frequently shoplifted items
boxes on shelves and notifying customers that they must contact a
store employee to obtain the item from a stock area
theft, expensive, and/or easily concealed items should be stored in areas that are continuously monitored by employees
spot-checks and Loss Prevention audits to verify that the
Shoplifting Policy is being complied with and physical security
measures are being maintained
discount program for law enforcement officers with the goal of
increasing their visits to your store and being more frequently
visible in the store
other retailers in your strip center, mall or general area.
Communicate with other stores in your chain and/or competitors.
Exchange information routinely on shoplifting incidents, providing
specific information when possible.
Conduct store meetings on a frequent basis and
invest time discussing the store’s performance in fighting
shoplifting. Review both positive and
negative examples of recent incidents and use them as teaching and
Invest in some of
the many anti-shoplifting signage packages that are available. Post
signs indicating that the company prosecutes shoplifters to the full
extent of the law
This is an incomplete
list of the many components your retail store can select from and
implement as part of a Shoplifting Policy. The most difficult and
dangerous program component is to adequately train your store
employees and management staff on how to respond in the event of an actual
shoplifting incident. As documented earlier, shoplifting apprehensions
are complicated and stressful in the best of circumstances.
Attempts to apprehend a shoplifter can
be physically dangerous for an untrained associate, and financially devastating
for the business.
Deterring The Shoplifter
Stores that take pro-active measures to deter shoplifting and also
have policies, personnel and/or equipment in place to assist in
apprehending shoplifters will be avoided by the professionals and make
casual, spontaneous shoplifters seriously reconsider their impulses. For
information about why people shoplift, read
Why Do People Shoplift?
It is highly recommended that a Loss Prevention professional
should be utilized to design, implement and maintain the program; not only a
Shoplifting Policy but also an overall Loss Prevention Program, either
from within the company or retained as a consultant.
Shoplifting will never be completely
eliminated, but it can be deterred and decreased with appropriate effort
and professional loss prevention know-how.
For more information about Tony Jarana or how Summit Loss Prevention Consulting can help your organization, Call 317-363-8312 or send email to info@SummitLossPrevention.com.