Retailers, Solution Providers, Law Enforcement, and Students Collaborate on Retail Crime at LPRC Conference

LPRC attendees toured the new Next Research Retail Center, which includes some amazing spaces like the simulation lab that consists of a real-life immersive environment with 9-feet screens that allow you to change and manipulate the virtual environment to fit a retailer’s needs.

Over 430 people made their way to the University of Florida’s Gainesville campus for the Loss Prevention Research Council’s (LPRC) 2019 Impact conference. The three-day event focused heavily on learning and collaboration, as well as an overview of the LPRC’s research on evidence-based tactics and strategies to reduce crime and loss in the retail space.

This year’s conference theme was “Trust.” The attendees were a mix of retail professionals, solution providers, federal and state law enforcement, and some students and faculty from the University of Florida.

Monday Day 1
The conference started on Monday, September 30 with a mix of events. There was the 6th annual Impact Golf Outing for charity. For the first time ever, the LPRC teamed up with the Loss Prevention Foundation (LPF) for the LPF Learning Day, a one-day seminar featuring top industry executives. Over 100 people, a mix of retail professionals and students, attended the event.

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The LPF Learning Day had some notable speakers and valuable content for the students and loss prevention professionals. One of the notable speakers was Wayne Hoover, CFI, with Wicklander-Zulawski, who gave a fantastic presentation about associate theft and discussed attacking major challenges in retail with a nonconfrontational approach.

Rick Peck, LPC, from TJX discussed careers in loss prevention and asset protection and talked about the importance of total immersion in safety, LP operations, investigations, inventory shrink, and business development. Sensormatic Solutions’ executive Randy Dunn and LPRC’s Read Hayes spoke about emerging technologies and trends and how they affect loss prevention and the customer service experience.

Monday wrapped up with the annual opening ceremony and networking event at the LPRC lab. LPRC members and guests had a full look at the new Next Research Retail Center, which includes some amazing spaces like the simulation lab that consists of a real-life immersive environment with 9-feet screens that allow you to change and manipulate the virtual environment to fit a retailer’s needs. The tour treated attendees to how virtual reality, biometrics, and eye tracking in technology will be used in research in the future. There was also a tour of the ideation space that is a collaborative venue which is module and allows retailers and solution providers alike to come up with collaborative, innovative ways to address the complex challenges in retail.

Tuesday Day 2
The conference officially began on Tuesday, October 1 with keynote speaker Angela Nino, CFI, the founder of Empathic Workplace. Nino covered the importance of respect and safety in the workplace. She also explained the science behind empathy, breaking down complicated topics like neuroscience, and interpersonal techniques like how to use empathy to fight shame. Next, Dr. Hayes spoke about the importance of relationships and trust in honor of this year’s conference theme.

Jordan Burchell, the LPRC’s innovation guru, shared the stage with Randy Dunn and Lincoln LeFebvre from The Home Depot. The three discussed some of the new and exciting possibilities in the Next Retail Research Center. They also facilitated a discussion around the capabilities of the new center, and there was a lot of buzz around the simulation lab and some of the biometrics tracking.

Wednesday Day 3
The third day of the conference featured an active shooter training hosted by Cathy Langley from Rite Aid, Tom Arigi from Kroger, and Jenn Jarret from the LPRC. Their presentation explained the difference between mass shooters, mass murderers, and active shooters and discussed relevant statistics and trends surrounding violent events. They also covered offender warning signals to help organizations to identify potential active shooters.

The last two days of the conference were segmented into time slots for attendees to collaborate with solution providers and into breakout sessions with leaders in the loss prevention industry.

Some of the topics in the learning labs included:

• Detecting Deviance. “Using Video Analytics and Alert Systems to Detect Red-Flag Behavioral Signatures” hosted by Jordan Burchell, Mike Brenton from Giant Food, and David Ewton from Bosch Security.

• Retail Collaboration. “Teaming Up with Law Enforcement to Tackle ORC Crime” hosted by Jenn Jarrett, Detective Ryan McCazzio from the Gainesville Police Department, and Bobby Haskins from Auror.

• Self-Checkout. “The Future of Retail? Exploring Its Uses, Benefits, and Risks” hosted by Scott Ziter from Price Chopper and Jim Cosseboom from Ahold Delhaize

• Facial Recognition and Retail. “Where We Are and Where Do We Go from Here?” hosted by Jenn Jarret and Cathy Langley from Rite Aid.

• Reducing Robberies with Technology. “Exploring the Effectiveness of Time-Delay Safes” hosted by Kenna Carlsen from the LPRC and Dave Magersupp from Verizon Wireless.

• Use of eVPMs. “Reducing the Theft of C.R.A.V.E.D. Items using eVPMs” hosted by Grant Drawve from the University of Arkansas and Fred Helmes and Brittany Condon from TJX.

Throughout the entire conference, there were several opportunities for solution providers, law enforcement, and retail professionals to collaborate and discuss some of the challenges in retail and to brainstorm innovative solutions. The LPRC’s CrimeScience podcast had multiple live segments taped at the conference, allowing conference attendees to participate. The end of the conference wrapped up with its annual offender interview series, which as always was a hit, with actual live offenders on stage talking about how and why they chose to steal.

With over 60 research projects underway, the LPRC will have even more results to cover at next year’s conference. Thanks to their collaborative work with many different perspectives in the asset protection world, we can expect a lot of progress from their work in the upcoming year.

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