When it comes to retail theft, a lack of reporting the crime in the first place is unfortunately quite common. However, it initiates a domino effect—without reporting retail crime, law enforcement cannot do their jobs to identify and arrest offenders, prosecutors cannot take them to court, and nothing gets done—and mostly, offenders become recidivists. Not only does this have a major impact on loss prevention efforts, but it can create unsafe stores and communities.
Retailers are the first victims of retail theft and crime. This positions them to be the biggest advocates for the loss prevention and criminal justice efforts behind stopping organized retail crime. At ALTO, we believe this is how retailers can be better victim advocates, not only for themselves but for their communities.
Take Crime and Theft Seriously—Report It
When stores tolerate even the lowest level of theft, it prevents law enforcement from taking action and prevents offenders from experiencing criminal repercussions, thus encouraging repeat offenses, often at the same stores.
The first step in breaking this cycle is to report crime to your local law enforcement officers as quickly as possible and provide them with detailed, accurate, and complete incident reports. This ensures that law enforcement and investigators can do their jobs effectively to identify and charge a criminal. With all the shrink data and evidence—specifically video evidence and witness statements—you provide, law enforcement can investigate the crime fully to find out if it is part of a larger pattern of incidents or organized retail crime.
Build Trust with Local Law Enforcement
Continue working with law enforcement throughout the investigation process so you can help them provide prosecutors with enough information and evidence to build a strong case in court. This will also build trust with law enforcement and prove that you are a proactive participant and dedicated team player in the fight against retail crime. Building this trust and creating this partnership will encourage your local law enforcement to become an ally with your store—and your employees—and respond quickly to future safety concerns.
As the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention says, “Your victim statement is your voice.” Speak up and tell your story to local law enforcement and prosecutors to prove in court the impact retail crime and theft has had on your store, your employees, and your customers.
Empower your staff and witnesses to speak up as well. Teach your staff how to collaborate with law enforcement and encourage them to give their victim statements to local officers. It is also important to encourage them to show up in court when called upon and, if needed, provide them the support they need to get to court safely.
Pay Attention and Get Involved—The ALTO program
Become a stakeholder in your loss prevention community and get involved in the efforts taking place around you, such as organized retail crime associations or task forces advocating for better legislation. Also, with ALTO, you can become a part of a boots-on-the-ground solution.
ALTO is a people-first company that provides a solution powered by technology and led by loss prevention and law enforcement experts, attorneys, and strategists. ALTO works in alliance with retailers, law enforcement, prosecutors, nonprofit organizations, and government officials to effect change in the community and in the courtroom.
How Does ALTO Work?
The ALTO Customer Success Specialist (CSS) is an extension of the in-store team, listening to concerns, offering client-approved on-site training, analyzing, and collecting the information of incidents reported, as well as providing constant support and advice for store associates and managers.
ALTO’s legal team also supports retailers by serving as victim advocates and following their retail clients’ cases throughout the criminal court process. The staff attorneys also share information on recidivists between retailers for intelligent accountability, easing the burden of court appearances on in-store staff, and building strong partnerships with law enforcement, as well as state attorneys.
Finally, to create safer communities, the ALTO CSS, in collaboration with the staff attorney, organizes events and meetings with local law enforcement and leaders to improve goodwill, foster mutual respect, and promote the awareness of organized retail crime in society. The ALTO team also fosters relationships with other community groups dedicated to breaking negative cycles at the root causes of crime, as well as developing strategies to deal with displaced persons, aggressive panhandling, and vandalism.
No matter how retailers get involved, it’s important to pay attention to how retail crime is affecting your community, speak up to hold your local leaders and government officials accountable, and form partnerships in order to successfully prevent future retail crime—together as a community.
Want to become part of the solution to prevent retail crime from happening in your community? Partner with our team and contact us at alto.us/contact/.