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Benefit Denial: A Core Principle of Crime Prevention

Rent-A-Center’s primary loss prevention challenge stems from its business model. The rent-to-own company allows people who are low on funds or credit to rent furniture, electronics, and other goods with an option to own them after a payment agreement has been fulfilled. Usually, this model works just fine. Unfortunately, some customers do just stop making payments—and that’s where the trouble starts. In an effort to circumvent its expensive recovery process, Rent-A-Center decided to look into a benefit denial technique.

Garett Seivold, contributing writer, takes a closer look at Rent-A-Center’s method of benefit denial—a million-dollar device protection solution—in a feature article for the July–August 2017 issue of LP Magazine. In the article, Seivold digs into the concept of benefit denial and why it works to curtail crime.

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From the article:

Benefit denial is one of the core principles of a situational crime prevention approach to security, which is built on the theory that an effective way to deter crime is to make attempts more difficult, more risky, and less rewarding. The strategy’s potential to cut crime is clear—if goods aren’t useable or won’t work unless purchased, then there is no reason for someone to steal them. For revenge or out of spite, perhaps, but that’s about it.

The strategy has a history in loss prevention, such as the development in the 1980s of ink or dye tags to protect store apparel. More contemporary benefit-denial techniques include car stereos that don’t function if the faceplate is removed and special hotel hangers with small hooks or ball tops that require special racks.

This concept—to deny the illicit use of smartphones—was at the foundation of Rent-A-Center’s winning asset protection strategy.

To read about the rollout and the results of Rent-A-Center’s device protection program, check out the full article: “Product Protection.” You can also read the other articles in the July—August 2017 issue of LP Magazine by going to the Table of Contents. Not yet subscribed? No problem – register here for free.

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