Working Together against Violent Crime

Fear of crime is real. And fear can force good customers to avoid your store. Avoidance means lower sales. And most importantly, retailers want their employees and shoppers to be, and feel, safe on property. Further, the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program and retailers themselves are all reporting a surge in violent crime events. So the Loss Prevention Research Council (LPRC) and University of Florida (UF) teams are working with US retailers to better control violence in their locations.

Violent Crime Working Group

Multiple retailers meet by phone and in person each month as part of the LPRC Violent Crime Working Group (VCWG). This group also meets on location and has recently been to Jacksonville, Florida, with planned field trips to Atlanta, Philadelphia, Houston, Baltimore, and back to Jacksonville coming up.

The group is led by Kroger’s Kevin Larson, Publix’s Nolan Bomar, 7-Eleven’s Mike Aldridge, and CAP Index’s BasiaPietrawska and includes Walmart, Big Lots, Target, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, Best Buy, General Growth, and AutoZone, to name just a few participants. Each call or meeting involves members sharing incident and countermeasure updates, followed by project updates and data discussions.

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The VCWG has several research and development initiatives underway, including:

  • Robbery protection on front-end, cash room, and pharmacy issues for drug stores and other store types.
  • Parking lot protection and shaping outside behavior.

These projects include multiple chains working together to discuss incident footage reviews, event data analyses, and locational testing. If your chain is interested in getting involved in this critical and growing group, please let me know.

Knowledge Center

Loss prevention executives have long told us they need a one-stop source for keyword-searchable LP and AP research reports, videos, and white papers. The LPRC team has worked hard to bring this industry need to fruition. The LPRC Knowledge Center launches in May. As it turns out, LPRC has produced over 250 research briefs and reports over the last fifteen years, and these are combined with video clips and other industry reports to create an amazing LP reference library. Visit lprcknowledgecenter.com for more information.

iLab

The LPRC and University of Florida Innovation Lab 3.0 initiative is moving at light speed right now. Bloomingdale’s Tom Meehan and CCI/Protection One’s Garret King are helping our team identify, source, install, and integrate over forty detection and action technologies in the lab’s parking lot, entrance, and interior. We are very excited about our progress to date and look forward to demonstrating how this system will inform and enable place managers. Stay tuned!

Coming Attractions

As mentioned in previous issues, the LPRC webinar series convenes this month. And make your reservations for the 2016 Impact Conference in beautiful Gainesville, Florida. The conference at the newly renovated University of Florida Reitz Student Union on October 3–5 looks to be even bigger and better than ever. Expect a nice lineup of research updates and breakout working groups all aligned with the zones of influence model, including cyber space, parking lot, store entry, at shelf, and others.

Recommended Reading

Routine Activity and Rational Choice, edited by Ronald V. Clarke and Marcus Felson, is a classic reference that provides both actionable theory tools and real-world examples of how these landmark environmental criminological theories inform crime prevention programs.

The two distinct but mutually usable opportunity reduction approaches are:

  • Routine activity—how motivated offenders come into contact with desirable and vulnerable targets to create the momentum for a crime attempt.
  • Rational choice—how individuals notice, interpret, and respond to opportunities and environmental cues when considering crime attempts.

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