On the evening of April 10, 2016, a shoplifting suspect was attempting to steal three flat screen televisions from a metro Atlanta Walmart when he was confronted by J.D. Ferguson, one of the store’s asset protection officers. As Ferguson approached the suspected shoplifter and asked for a receipt for the TVs, the situation quickly turned violent when the man pulled out a gun and shot Ferguson in the stomach. Ferguson was immediately rushed to Gwinnett Medical Center, but he died a short time later from his injuries.
This is how quickly that lives—and families–can change forever. This is the same type of situation that almost all of us in the loss prevention community have faced on countless occasions in retail stores all across the country. Many of us can tell stories about situations that escalated, facing desperate individuals that take foolish steps to avoid apprehension and the potential loss of personal freedom. Unfortunately, there are also those of us who can no longer share such stories. Read the full article.
What is a loss prevention manager? What might appear to be a fairly simple question now requires a much more complicated answer in a new age of retail where roles and responsibilities are changing on a regular and consistent basis.
To the average consumer, a loss prevention manager is often perceived as a “security guard;” a reactionary presence in a retail establishment whose primary responsibility is to apprehend shoplifters. Tales of shoplifters subjected to “heavy-handed” forms of justice and employee investigations that often result in nothing more than a simple slap on the wrist have been viewed by many as the norm…and why not? Shoplifters are primarily kids stealing candy bars and lipstick, right? Does it really make that much difference if an employee borrows a couple bucks from the register to buy their lunch once in awhile? The profession can be perceived as a necessary, but unattractive and largely unwanted cost of doing business—a value measured simply by the extent of its potentially negative impact. Read the full article.
For years, there have been those that have questioned whether retail loss prevention and law enforcement can effectively work in partnership with one another. For example retail loss prevention professionals have often felt frustrated that law enforcement wasn’t concerned about helping them with their business. In reality, detectives may have been focusing on other pressing crimes, such as a rash of burglaries, sexual assaults, or other crimes against people.
Consider the aftermath of a “grab and run” incident. From a law enforcement perspective, the number of people who had access to a particular area when a loss occurs may be very high, with little or no available means to identify who the perpetrators might be. Some believe that law enforcement has the ability to further clarify and zoom in on video already recorded to extract a better image. There are also those who watch crime shows on TV and actually believe that there is a flashlight you can shine a certain way and it almost always finds the fiber that helps solve the crime, or a master computer exists where you can enter information and the person’s life history pops up, complete with pictures identifying the current location of the person. Such perceptions don’t always consider the hours spent trying to locate the person and or the effort necessary to get them to come in for an interview. Once the interview is completed, you may have a “feeling” they committed the crime, or were involved, but may not be able to develop the evidence necessary to prove it in court. Read the full article.
As loss prevention and asset protection practitioners, we are often asked to describe our jobs to others. In the old days, we could get away with simply stating, “I catch people who are stealing from my company.” And while this was—at one time—an accurate representation of our duties (and probably fascinated your audience), it in no way accurately describes the full gamut of our responsibilities now.
The loss prevention and asset protection teams of 2016 are much more than simply “bad-guy catchers.” We are analysts, interviewers, auditors, operators, coaches, inventory specialists, and even merchandisers. These areas of expertise may or may not be what we originally signed up for, but we have evolved to this point nonetheless. Despite this continual evolution, there is one thing that remains constant with us—our ability to recognize when things aren’t as they should be. This ability is the foundation of our existence. It is present when we are introduced to a cashier who spends the whole conversation saying how much he or she wants to work in LP. It is present when we notice a customer in the razor blade aisle wearing a long winter coat in July. It is present when we audit a store and identify opportunities in cash handling practices. But is it present while we are looking at our data? Read the full article.
A question frequently asked by the typical retail customer—and even some loss prevention professionals just getting started in their careers—involves many of the smaller stores where they shop, and how shoplifting and other retail shrink concerns are managed in retail stores with no loss prevention team.
First and foremost, there are very few retail companies that actually attempt to manage their stores with no loss prevention program. Considering the significant impact that retail shrink can have on the business, most retailers recognize the crucial need to manage merchandise losses and protect all of the various assets of our retail stores. As a result, a loss prevention program often exists, but is managed in a different way than might be expected in a traditional department store setting where resources are devoted to loss prevention personnel that are specifically charged with identifying and apprehending shoplifters. Read the full article.