Many advanced security solutions in the retail space focus on deterrence. From alarms to cameras to bars on windows, these solutions are designed to drive crime elsewhere and can be very effective. However, determined criminals will commit crimes regardless, so deterrence isn’t enough. A solution like GPS tracking not only helps recover stolen inventory but, equally important, it supports law enforcement in apprehending the criminals. Taking habitual offenders off the streets is the best way to break the crime cycle and prevent future crimes.
As convenience stores have moved to having less cash on hand, crooks have simply changed their target and now steal tobacco products. With almost 6,000 stores located throughout Canada, Mac’s Convenience Stores—now operated as Circle K Stores—was getting hit hard with both late night and daytime robberies. Sean Sportun, manager of security and loss prevention for Circle K in central Canada, thought “when it comes to preventing crime and protecting employees, sometimes you need to think outside the box – make a shift in your paradigm to achieve your goal.”
Sportun was an early adopter of GPS and deployed Tobacco Tracker™ with great success, not just in recovering stolen product but in stopping future crimes. Said Sportun “Tobacco Tracker is an excellent example of how technology is assisting in asset recovery, offender apprehension and, over the long term, the prevention of incidents at Circle K Stores.”
Where convenience stores are generally targeted due to location and vulnerability rather than for high-ticket items, phone stores are just the opposite. With high-value electronics being a hot item on the black market, phone store robberies and burglaries, often violent, are climbing.
Gabe Martin, director of asset protection and emergency operations for a major Midwest phone retailer, heard about the success of Phone Tracker™ from other retailers. The idea that stolen inventory could be recovered AND criminals could be caught gave the solution strong appeal. Martin and his team wanted to give the technology a try, so they first installed Phone Trackers in ten high-risk stores in the Chicago metro area. They had two successes, including the apprehension and arrest of a dangerous armed robber and full recoveries of the stolen phones.
Wes Gray, loss prevention manager for a major Verizon retailer, initially targeted twenty stores with Phone Tracker but quickly expanded to about two hundred stores after some immediate and substantial successes. As Gray said, “The ROI is abundantly clear, especially in our industry where you can have tens of thousands of dollars of merchandise taken in a single crime. All it takes is one successful recovery and Phone Tracker pays for itself.”
Boosters in organized retail crime gangs look to exploit vulnerability anywhere they can, and retail giant Sally Beauty Supply was a frequent victim of these gangs. Their stores were plagued by nighttime burglaries, and alarms and cameras weren’t stopping the crimes. Jim Mires, VP of loss prevention, looked to 3SI, a vendor he knew from a previous position. He knew that catching the criminal would be the ‘secret sauce’ to stopping downstream crime: “I wanted to do more than just stop these criminals. I wanted to catch them and pursue them civilly for damages.”
Using Asset Tracker™ at Sally’s locations has led to the breakup of eleven ORC rings, scores of arrests throughout North America, the recovery of thousands of dollars in assets and, restitution from criminals prosecuted for property damage and lost revenue. Says Mires, “Why use GPS? Because it works.”
With over 120,000 trackers now deployed worldwide, 3SI’s solutions help police apprehend thousands of criminals every year and recover millions of dollars of stolen inventory. But most important, criminals behind bars are criminals who cannot commit additional crimes. Using a solution that helps break the crime cycle helps the customer, but also helps the community by making the streets safer for everyone.