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Good Sensors Lead to Good Data

They’re out there, and they’re headed our way. In the last column, I discussed how we need to improve our data to improve our decisions and then of course our positive impact. But just as critical as good data are good sensors. Think Star Trek; think unmanned drones over a battlespace; think about knowing so much more than now and being able to more rapidly do something. Everyone needs situational awareness. In our case, it’s who is planning to hit our stores, who is coming to hit us now, and who is already in our stores and wants to hurt us?

Situational Awareness

A key focus for the Loss Prevention Research Council (LPRC) and University of Florida Innovation Lab is just this—early detection, instant notification, and automatic or manual-focused deterrent or handling protocols. Place managers and loss prevention and asset protection team members need to more rapidly know what’s happening and who’s involved and have the ability to make more rapid responses.

We are working to enhance and tie together multiple sensors for rapid display and usage in concentric scales, including:

- Digital Partner -
  • Community Level. Offender databases, social and traditional media, local law enforcement, and other human sources can indicate what motivated people are contemplating and even planning. Pre-event indicators generated by gossiping, planning, recruiting, picking each other’s thoughts, and so forth are good examples of this type of warning data. Online selling, flea market, pawnshop, and other fencing sources can also inform and help predict issues.
  • Surrounding Area. Knowledge of mass transit, limited-access highway, and other approach activity can help spot upcoming civil disobedience and other problems.
  • Parking Lot Entry. Cameras, auto tag look up, parking lot patrols, and other sensors can detect and warn about problems before they unfold.
  • Store Entry. Facial recognition, metal detection, RFID and EAS tag sensors, smartphone signatures, and other signals can warn of known or suspected offenders before they can strike.
  • In-Store. Video analytics, sensor pads and beams, special CCTV applications, digital beacons, and human sources help us keep track of problematic people, especially in higher-risk places and approaches to those places like hot products display and storage areas, hidden spots, stockrooms, restrooms, and cash offices.This listing isn’t all-inclusive, but it illustrates opportunities to gather and quickly display digital data and images to decision-makers to sell more while reducing crime efforts.

Violent Crime

The LPRC Violent Crime Task Force’s multiple research and development projects continue. The drugstore robbery prevention project has CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens LP executives working with our team crunching data for patterns, pouring over crime event videos, and making store visits to enhance prevention and response. This month the group is jointly reviewing robbery attempts via webinar with multiple videos looking for actionable methods of operation.

The parking lot and robbery crime project visited Jacksonville, Florida, reviewing robbery mapping and analyses with five retail chains. The group then walked repeat victimization stores as we all planned upcoming parking lot and in-store changes and trials.

Dr. Lucia Summers Image
Dr. Lucia Summers of Texas State University was the keynote speaker at this year’s Impact conference discussing her research on “Affecting Offender Decisions.”

The group is also working on mall parking lot environments as ways to have mall security, police, and LP work together on blitzes and routine protective and apprehension operations.

Future of LP

After a highly successful Seattle field trip to Amazon and Microsoft, the LPRC Future of LP Working Group is planning to visit California Bay Area innovation labs and then Cincinnati as part of its research into protecting future retail enterprises.

Impact Conference 2015

Over 200 loss prevention and asset protection professionals gathered in Gainesville on October 3-5 and worked together in group breakouts, in the Innovation Lab, and during general sessions. Texas State University’s Lucia Summers, PhD, presented new offender interview data, new LPRC research findings were discussed, an offender panel answered Impact participant questions, and the group enjoyed multiple social events.

LP Solutions

Please mark the first week in October 3-5, 2016, for an even better Impact conference on the University of Florida campus. The Impact

Impact Conference 2015 Image
An important aspect of the Impact conference was breakout sessions for the many working groups and action teams to discuss future research topics.

planning team has already reviewed almost 100 conference reviews and is working up exciting new ways to continue to review new research and share ideas. And we invite you to join us.

Recommended Reading

Crime and Place, edited by Eck and Weisburd, features fourteen chapters highlighting the prime role places and spaces play in crime. All LPRC research is grounded in environmental and place-based crime control theories.

As always, our University of Florida and LPRC teams are working to support you, so please let me know your thoughts and suggestions on LinkedIn or at rhayes (at) lpresearch (dot) org.

- Digital Partner -




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