Catching Shoplifters: What’s Your Store Policy?

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Although anecdotal evidence among retailers seemed to indicate that shoplifting incidents have been increasing significantly in recent years, hard data was needed. What’s the real rate of shoplifting and external theft these days? How are retailers catching shoplifters and/or using policies to manage these incidents? A trio of industry pros decided to conduct a benchmark survey to find out.

Findings from the survey and a comprehensive analysis can be found in the Benchmarking column from the January-February 2017 issue of LP Magazine. Adrian Beck, Walter Palmer, and Colin Peacock reveal the policies and practices commonly used by responding retailers (whose companies represented 47 percent of US retail sales) when it comes to catching shoplifters. From the article:

Relatively few respondents—just 18 percent—said that they had a “no apprehension” policy. Of those that did have a policy of apprehending thieves in their stores, the vast majority operated a “no chase” policy (78 percent), with only 8 percent stating that they had a “limited chase” policy whereby staff could run after thieves, but only to an agreed boundary.

A significant proportion of respondents (45 percent) said that they operated a “no physical touch” policy when dealing with thieves, with just over one-third (35%) stating that staff could use force but only in self-defense. A much smaller proportion (15 percent) allowed staff to use “reasonable force” in making apprehensions and one in five allowed the use of handcuffs (20 percent).

The authors discuss potential applications of this data and ideas for future studies in the column as well. Read the whole article, “Comparing Policies and Practices on Managing Shoplifting,” or check out the Table of Contents for the January-February 2017 issue. Not yet subscribed? Sign up for your FREE subscription to the digital or print magazine.

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