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Confronting a Shoplifter: Do You Know When to Let It Go?

Sometimes, the right thing to do when it comes to confronting a shoplifter is also one of the most difficult for retail loss prevention personnel—let it go. Choosing to show restraint, to allow a shoplifter walk away, and to accept the outcome of loss is a tough decision for an LP professional to make—especially when you’re faced with insults, threats, or simply frustration at the perceived injustice.

But safety must come first.

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Jac Brittain, LPC, LPM editorial director, elaborates on the best ways to make smart decisions while confronting a shoplifter in a feature article for the December 2018 issue of LPM Online. In the article, Brittain lists seven things to consider the next time you’re confronting a shoplifter yourself. First and foremost on the list? Consider the risk. From the article:

Consider the risk. We’ve all heard the “war stories” from those who worked in an era when it was commonplace to chase shoplifters who tried to avoid detainment and fled the scene. We’ve heard tales of employees being involved in altercations, struck by cars, dragged by cars, attacked with knives and other weapons, confronted by friends of the shoplifter, and many other stories involving equal or greater indiscretion. As someone who worked through that era, I can say without hesitation that those actions were nothing short of reckless and stupid. There’s no valor in putting ourselves or others at risk. You work in a retail store—you’re not part of a video game.

There are no medals or penalty flags when it comes to confronting a shoplifter. Check out the other six things to consider in the full article, “Shoplifter Safety: Knowing When to ‘Let It Go.‘”

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