Legal Definition of Shoplifting Shoplifting is the theft of retail merchandise by a person lawfully on the premises. Concealment of merchandise is prima facie evidence of intent to shoplift. In many states price changing is also considered shoplifting.
Types of Shoplifters Amateurs: Students. Housewives. Vagrants. Alcoholics. Drug addicts. Kleptomaniacs. Professionals: Those who steal for resale of merchandise.
Shoplifting Methods Palming objects. Dropping articles into a receptacle. Placing items inside clothing. Wearing items out of the store. Switching price tags.
Curtailing Shoplifting Single most effective deterrent is surveillance by an alert, trained sales force. This may be supplemented by security officers or floorwalkers. Security officers are prevention oriented, seeking to deter crime by their presence. Floorwalkers are apprehension oriented, seeking to arrest and prosecute shoplifters.
Merchandising Techniques to Deter Shoplifting Keeping displays orderly and not stacking merchandise too high. Returning to the display any item looked at and not bought. Keeping small, valuable items locked in display cases. Placing identifying tags on all merchandise. Displaying only one of a pair. Not displaying expensive merchandise near exits. Having small, easily stolen items located by the checkout.
Deterrent Procedures for Shoplifting Keeping unused checkout lanes closed. Locking the back door. Having package checks. Carefully checking price tags and bar codes. Maintaining tight controls on fitting rooms and restrooms. Issuing receipts. Controlling refunds. Establishing a communication system.
Physical Controls for Shoplifting Changing the actual store layout. Posting signs. Installing locks and alarms. Installing surveillance equipment such as convex mirrors and/or CCTV.
Apprehension of Shoplifters Someone must actually see item being taken and concealed or be reasonably certain item has been taken. Suspect must be kept under continuous observation until apprehension is made. This may occur on the premises or outside the premises depending on state statute. Must have reasonable or probable cause.
Prosecution of Shoplifters Establish reasonable guidelines for prosecuting shoplifters. Consider the value of the article, along with the person’s age, number of offenses and attitude. Guard against illegal detention, malicious prosecution and slander suits.
Deterring Bad Checks Teach personnel to recognize the different types of checks and the common types of bad checks. Establish a check-cashing policy and adhere to it. Train personnel to examine checks and identification. Record relevant information on the backs of all checks cashed. Reconcile identity documents with check passers’ characteristics.
Types of Bad Checks Forged or altered checks. No-account checks. Nonsufficient funds checks.
Check Examination Look at the printed name and address. Check number, date, payee, numerical and written amount, bank and address and signature (for endorsement). Accept no checks that are illegible, that are not written in ink or that contain erasures or written-over dates or amounts.
Check Identification Persons presenting checks to cash should be required to produce identification containing a physical description (preferably a photograph) and a signature. The description should be compared with the person. The signature should be compared with the signature on the check.
Credit Card Loss Compare the signature on the card with that on the sales slip. Check the card’s expiration date. Establishing a reasonable floor release limit.
Special Employee Security Problems Access to merchandise and cash. Specific pricing procedures, cash-handling procedures and refund procedures are essential. Personnel should be rotated periodically. Responsibilities should be separated.
Deter Employee Theft by Price Alterations Allow only authorized employees to set prices and mark merchandise. Mark merchandise by machine or rubber stamp, never pencil. Conduct periodic audits of prices recorded and prices changed. Check on the “popular” salesperson.
Reduce Losses of Cash Establish strict cash-handling procedures. Use a tamper-proof recording system. Have each clerk responsible for his/her own receipts. Have cash receipts balanced by someone else. Perform unannounced audits. Use honesty shoppers.
Honesty Shopping Honesty shopping, or a shopping service, tests the honesty of sales personnel who handle cash.
Refunds Require all employees to comply with the return/refund policy. Keep tight control of all credit documents, and match items to the return vouchers. Conduct periodic audits of return vouchers.
Shopping Center Security The primary objectives of shopping center security are loss prevention and public relations.
Summary Questions What are the most frequent crimes committed against retail? What legally constitutes shoplifting? How are shoplifters classified? What methods are commonly used to shoplift? What preventive methods can be used to curtail shoplifting?
Summary Questions What basic difference exists between security officers and floorwalkers? What merchandising techniques, procedures and physical controls can be used to deter shoplifting? When and how should people suspected of shoplifting be apprehended? What factors influence when prosecution is advisable?
Summary Questions How can losses from bad checks be deterred? What types of checks are considered high- risk? What are the most common types of bad checks? How should checks be examined? What identification should be required?
Summary Questions How can credit card loss be deterred? What types of employee theft frequently occur in retail and what preventive measures can be taken? What is honesty shopping? What are the two primary objectives of shopping center security?