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Contemporary loss prevention professionals still maintain responsibility for retail security. But they also must handle employee theft issues, data protection, safety and risk management, inventory audits, legal compliance, and matters related to organized retail crime and fraud.
There is little consensus on what constitutes “loss” within the retail world nor how it should be measured. The terms “shrinkage” and “shortage” have been loosely applied to encapsulate some of the areas that generate loss, but they are not terms enjoying a clear and agreed-upon definition across the sector.
The NRSS indicates that shoplifting accounted for 35.7 percent of the reported shrink in 2017, which is down from 39.3 percent in 2016.
Organized retail crime methods are a part of the retail marketplace, and they operate under the same basic principles as retailers. There is an opportunity to make a profit by supplying a demand, so various ORC players take it upon themselves to become the suppliers.
Visual information is no longer the only — and perhaps not even the primary — component of a video surveillance system. Images are still valuable, but it is the data inherent within them that provides for new applications and value. A camera is now a computer with a lens. Video once provided LP with extra eyes. Now it also offers brains.
Whatever your core values are, the old truism remains accurate: employees don’t turn to statements on the company website to look for clues on how to behave; they look to each other.
Implementing targeted theft-deterrent strategies depends on consistent record-keeping, organization, and pattern recognition. A data-driven incident management process is the only way to keep pace with an extremely adaptable foe.
As the industry transitions from bricks and mortar to “bricks and clicks,” the capabilities of existing systems are being stretched thin, and many retailers have not fully integrated the new technology required to manage loss and reduce shrinkage effectively in an omni-channel world.
One piece of good news for California prosecutors is AB1065, a bill that makes it easier to tackle organized retail crime (ORC). As of July 2018, the bill has moved through the legislature but needs a final push in the state senate to make it to the governor's desk.
A more effective way to attack this type of theft is to bring together retailers and law enforcement resources in order to share trends and case details.