73% of adults and 72% of juvenile offenders say that they did not plan to steal in advance.
89% of kids say they know kids who shoplift. 66% say they hand out with those kids. Shoplifters say that they are caught once in every 48 times that they steal. They are turned over to police 50% of the time. 3% of shoplifters are categorized as “professional”.
Steal solely for resale or profit as a business. Drug addicts included (they steal to feed their habit). Hardened professionals that steal as a lifestyle Responsible for 10% of the total dollar loss.
They steal, not out of a criminal intent, financial need or greed but as a response to social and personal pressures in their life.
Steal because of the excitement generated from “getting away with it”. Produces a chemical reaction resulting in a “rush” or “high”. Many shoplifters explain that this “high” is their “reward” rather than the merchandise itself.
Drug addicts, who have become addicted to shoplifting, describe the shoplifting as equally addicting as drugs.
Habitual shoplifters steal an average of 1.6 times per week.
Signs of shoplifting Nervousness. Avoiding eye contact. Wandering about the store without purchasing anything. Keeps watching you (constantly looking at you) Stays in an area of the store that is hard for you to see them. Leaves the store and returns to your business repeatedly in a short period of time.
Simple Measures to discourage a shoplifter. Stay alert at all times. Be friendly and polite to all customers. Ask customers if they need help (lets possible shoplifters know they are being watched) Keep your business neat, clean and orderly. Know where shoplifting is most likely to occur in your business.
Confuse and distract you. Shoplifters may work in teams. One will create a disturbance (complain loudly, staging a faint, knocking over merchandise) in order to draw attention away from the shoplifter.
Elevate the cashier’s platform. Install mirrors that allow cashiers and sales people to see over and around displays. Post signs warning against shoplifting. Encourage checking parcels on entry. Require receipts for merchandise returns for cash. Take an inventory of returned merchandise against receipts on a regular basis to catch false returns. Make shoplifters feel as if they are being watched.
Display strategies Keep display racks away from entrances and exits. (discourages the “hit and run” thieves) Keep small and expensive items out of reach or locked in display cases. Have sales people show only one item at a time from these cases. Arrange merchandise neatly to make it easier to detect missing items. Take daily or weekly inventories of expensive items.
Fitting room security Keep fitting room doors locked when not in use. Install “café doors” so that staff members can monitor fitting room use. Limit the number of items allowed to be taken into the dressing room. Post a sign that directs customers to see a sales person before taking items into a fitting room. Use a return rack for unwanted items. Post signs in fitting rooms warning against shoplifting. Issue color coded tags to indicate the number of items taken into the fitting room.
Educate employees Watch customers for: Loose or baggy clothing. Clothing inappropriate for weather. Large bags, strollers, packages that could easily be used to conceal merchandise.
Check lower rack of shopping carts. Watch for switched tags. Look inside items that can be used as shoplifting containers (toolboxes, wastebaskets, coat sleeves). Check for factory seals on boxed items (look inside boxes not sealed). Be familiar with store prices (Prevents price switching). Staple receipts to the outside of packages.
Discourage socializing on the sales floor (a group of employees in one area usually means inadequate coverage elsewhere). Schedule hours so that an adequate number of sales people are working at all times. (common place for shoplifters to strike when you are busy). Keep employees alert by holding periodic review sessions on store shoplifting policies.
Do they need to have left the premises? Do they need to have passed the checkout area?
They have to be in the act of leaving the store, or as close to it as you feel comfortable with. We need to prove that they intended on leaving without paying.
If you have a shoplifting suspect: Approach the person and ask “Can I help you?” or “Can I ring that up for you?” If you suspect they have lifted and concealed something, keep them in your sight and notify a manager or security personnel immediately. Neither available, request the assistance of another worker. Plan a “buddy system” for your own safety.
Never try to physically stop a shoplifter. Never lock the door to keep the offender from leaving. Never chase them out of your business. Remain at least an arms length away from the offender. If you feel frightened or uneasy, do not continue to confront the offender. Leave yourself an avenue of escape. Call the police (382-3667 Decorah Police) 9-1-1 in emergency.
We need good witnesses. Have employees write out a good detailed statement. Court often long ways down the road. We need to get the dollar amount of the theft. Determines charging level. Photograph item. Maintain item for court purposes.