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Developing Prioritized Protective Strategies

Stay focused; we hear that a lot. But what should those charged with protecting people and places really fixate on? Criminologist Jerry Ratcliffe stresses law enforcement teams should use the acronym HIPE to provide their operational frameworks and actions necessary guidance and focus. HIPE stands for harm-focused, intelligence-led, problem-oriented, and evidence-based policing. Retailers might also look at this concept in developing prioritized protective strategies.

Harm-focused. Data support that HIPE components can provide more precision and impact. So let’s first explore harm-focused. To support an enterprise’s success, asset protection leaders strive to focus their teams on key company process points and success metrics they’re uniquely suited to affect. At the Loss Prevention Research Council (LPRC) and the University of Florida, our teams concentrate research and development on on-shelf availability, quick but secure checkout, and making place-users and their personal information safer and more secure.

In other words, leaders should design ways to measure and prioritize actions on processes, places, and people that create the most loss, theft, fraud, and fear of crime harm. The more a loss or crime issue is impacting a key process, the more life-safety risk, the greater a problem’s financial effects, the more harm, and the great the priority it’s given. Some loss events might be more frequent, but actual harm to people and business success drives the fight.

- Digital Partner -

Intelligence-led. A powerful adjunct to focusing on a business’s priority problems is using organizational loss and crime event, risk rating, and other data with prolific offender intelligence to tightly focus efforts on the hottest assets, offenders, and places.

Problem-oriented. Many will recall our team repeatedly uses the SARA problem-solving method to focus our research efforts and always recommends retailers adopt the simple process to provide a consistent, across-chain protocol. SARA means better problem understanding, leading to more precise solution-set options, and a deployment and outcomes assessment.

Problem-solving then includes these important components:

  1. Scanning to identify and prioritize recurring problems
  2. Analyzing problems using a variety of data sources and perspectives
  3. Responding with focused strategies designed and implemented based on your problem analysis
  4. Assessing how the treatments were actually deployed and their real-world effects on the identified and defined problem.

Evidence-based. The reason the LPRC community includes seventy major retail chains is they’re working together with each other, solution partners, and scientists to gather problem and solution evidence to up their game and results. Research-derived evidence can be used to develop a better understanding of an issue by describing the nature, extent, and possible causes of a problem, or looking at how a change was implemented. It can also be used to assess the effect of a protective intervention by testing the impact of a new initiative in a specific context with pre and post looks, against some control, or exploring the possible consequences of a change in process.

Featured Research on Self-Checkout

We’re all working to convince people not to initiate theft, fraud, or violence. It is easier said than done, but LP exists to enable the retail enterprise in the face of a lot of bad actors. To this end, our almost 300 research projects to date are designed to help us understand what’s behind bad behavior and how we might influence those headed our way.

LP Solutions

Self-serve checkout is here and most likely will remain for a long time to come. This is one of several current or recent projects to help us learn, improve, and adapt to evolving businesses and people. In this study the LPRC team collected data from twenty-four active shoplifting offenders after the installations of small, enhanced public-view monitors (ePVMs) at the self-checkout kiosks, large ePVMs above the self-checkout area, in-aisle ePVMs in the seafood, liquor, and health and beauty areas, and ePVMs at the pushout-prevention cart-containment system.

This research focused on determining the noticeability of these small-area (zone 2) deterrent LP measures, offender perceptions, and how these measures affect offenders’ decisions of whether to steal from the store.

Initially, offenders were asked to provide feedback on their perception of theft using self-checkout services (see pie chart above).

All offenders reported they shoplifted from self-checkout by scanning some but not other items. Five also indicated they switched labels, four tricked the scale, and three indicated other methods.

- Digital Partner -

More important is the proportion of shoplifters that noticed the security measures.

Ideate, Simulate, Test

Please plan to visit our new Ideation and Simulation Lab (ISL) spaces and learn more about our latest initiative called LPRC INNOVATE led by Jordan Burchell, which is leveraging cutting-edge technologies and processes to help your organization get better now and in the future.

We’re already working on new projects using the ISL design-thinking space, followed by mixed reality (VR, AR, video immersion) in our sim space. These places, especially when connected to actual stores and distribution centers, can speed up learnings about multiple design, technology, and people options without costly renovations.

Engage with the LPRC Community

We’re already way ahead of last year’s enrollment at this point for our annual LPRC IMPACT conference scheduled for September 30 to October 2 at the University of Florida. We strongly encourage you to consider participating in the annual event and to register soon to ensure you have a space. We’re featuring dozens of new, practical LP research results, Learning Lab breakouts, our brand new Ideation and Simulation Lab, cool networking receptions, and much more. Register at


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