Go big or go home. In this case, retailers need to go both big and small. Successful retail decision-makers continuously work to improve what they do and how they do it—both overall (big) and in specific actions (small). So at the Loss Prevention Research Council (LPRC) and within the University of Florida’s Crime Prevention Research Team, our mandate is to help retailers create:
- Better overall LP/AP strategies and delivery models. In other words, we’re working on corporate and field LP frameworks to reduce crime and loss issues and attempts across the enterprise via a comprehensive program.
- Better specific LP/AP interventions, including people, programs, processes, and technologies that operationalize the corporate strategy.
We keep hearing there is ample opportunity to improve how LP supports retail organizations. Mission-critical supply chains still have some leak points. Cost-effective in-store product protection that enhances the shopping and buying experience remains elusive in some areas. Employee deviance prevention can be improved. And parking lot and store safety still have room for development.
We’re working with almost forty retail chains on these very issues by trialing very focused small-ball tactics in stores, distribution centers, and outside areas. New research indicates mixing different types of EAS together extends a system’s impact, further enhancing the “see, get, fear” effects of public view monitors and maintaining their viability. And certain signage improvements (targeted wording and symbols) are helping other deterrent measures, like EAS, CCTV, alarms, point protection items, and so forth, work better.
And on the big or strategic front, even more closely tying LP/AP into operations, buying, and site-selection planning, as well as using situational effort, risk, reward efforts in the five zones of influence model, as a corporate focus is helping LP departments up their positive impact across the company.
Thinking out loud here on the LP tactics or field practitioner front, we’re working to boost the contrast of a given deterrent cue to increase its effects. In other words, we are leveraging the LPRC’s “see, get, fear” model by thinking contrast. We only have a split second to create an impression of control to simple, stressed, and often-impaired offenders.
See. Offenders must actually notice or know about an arrayed cue to be deterred by it. They have got to see or discern our countermeasure. So we work to improve the probability most would-be offenders will perceive the deterrent measure in the real world and in the heat of the moment. We use size, placement, coloring, signage, lighting, sounds, and more to contrast the cue in a busy background.
Get. After noticing or knowing about a countermeasure, offenders must truly understand how the deployed mono or combo treatment will make their crime attempt harder, riskier, or less rewarding. We must create enough contrast between our deterrent effort and the confusing background, or other objects like smoke detectors, to help our targeted offenders immediately grasp how our measure will negatively affect them and their success.
Fear. Finally, we must instantly create a real and compelling “no-go” impression in offenders’ minds. Our intervention must be credible to offenders by creating a certain contrast between keep going and desist options. We must convince them that if they continue their attempt, they will be caught or just won’t be successful—it’s not worth it, so stop.
More is to come on this important research in actual stores and parking lots, so keep your eyes and mind open to ways to contrast what you do in order to gain an advantage over the opposition.
Events and Attractions
I thoroughly enjoyed and learned a ton at both the RILA and NRF loss prevention conferences this year. I continue to be impressed at how many talented and energized people we have in loss prevention. These conferences bring together that talent with innovation solution partners and other experts to share, learn, and build.
The LPRC webinar series continues featuring “Collecting and Using Data 101” then “Cyber Security: Threat Intelligence.” These webinars follow the recent and still available online “The Science of Loss Prevention” and “Improving Performance: Using the SARA Problem-Solving Method” sessions.
The 2016 Impact Conference at the beautiful University of Florida Reitz Student Union on October 4–6 features five learning labs for breakouts, working group planning, a tour of the dramatically upgraded LPRC Innovation Lab, and multiple research review and networking exercises. We already have twice as many people enrolled as last year, so move quickly to participate in this unique LP experience.
The Violent Crime Working Group continues to convene Violent Crime Summits bringing together retailers and law enforcement agencies to discuss joint crime mapping and pattern notification, intelligence sharing, and ongoing and upcoming crime control research. Look for summits in Houston, Baltimore, and Jacksonville. More information is available by emailing operations (at) lpresearch (dot) org.
Gary Johnson is coordinating three regional LPRC Learning Lab meetings to discuss the array of LP/AP research and working group activities with interested retailers. Stay tuned for more information.
LPRC Knowledge Center
The online LPRC Knowledge Center continues to add video clips, white papers, and other resource material—over 325 documents alone to date. And the simple search-engine look makes it so easy to use. Stop by and check it out at lpresearch.org or email operations (at) lpresearch (dot) org.
Analyzing Crime Patterns edited by Victor Goldsmith, Philip G. McGuire, John H. Mollenkopf, and Timothy A. Ross contains multiple chapters discussing tactical crime analysis, the NYPD’s Compstat program, social science and spatial analysis, crime hot spots and hot dots, and crime and place. This book is a must-have primer for anyone interested in graphically viewing crime distribution to better plan and attack high-impact issues.
As always, our University of Florida and LPRC teams are working to support you, so please let me know your thoughts and suggestions via our website at lpresearch.org, on LinkedIn, or at rhayes (at) lpresearch (dot) org.