“What stops them from just removing it?” That is a question I get all the time from associates and customers alike in regard to the effectiveness of electronic article surveillance or EAS labels. After all the labels are only placed on the product with a strong adhesive. The EAS label can be removed with a little effort very quickly and the product is then defenseless against the shoplifter leaving undetected with the product concealed on his or her person. In some cases, if that is the only retail anti-theft devices that you are using in your store to prevent shoplifting the answer might be that nothing stops them from removing the EAS label and walking out of your store with the product.
However, based on the value of the product, using just one EAS label is not the best way to prevent shoplifting of your merchandise. Maybe a couple of examples from my experiences will help illustrate this a little better. In one case, a shoplifter brought in his own cable-cutters into the store to cut the cables on the leather jackets and cut off the EAS hard tag. It was a great plan and he had some quality side-cutters to do the job; however, he did not count on us just placing some inexpensive EAS labels inside the pockets and inside the lining of the jacket. When he went to leave with a nice smug look on his face (that was quickly replaced with wide-eyes and open-mouthed surprise) he was stopped at the door, detained and turned over to the police for shoplifting. Those inexpensive hidden Checkpoint labels activated by door alarms saved the loss of a very expensive garment.
In a second example, a professional shoplifter had figured out how to remove our laptops from our heavily secured and alarmed display brackets without activating the alarm. He had stolen 4 laptops previously undetected except through CCTV (closed-circuit television) tape reviews. His undoing the next time he tried his very-thought out criminal endeavor was Checkpoint labels had been placed inside the battery compartments of the laptops. His combined endeavors earned him a felony arrest and conviction. You have probably figured out the key to protecting high-dollar merchandise by now: layered protection.
The layered protection I have discussed so far has actually only consisted of multiple EAS labels to be detected by your electronic article surveillance. There are many more options in ways to stop shoplifting through EAS. Checkpoint Security Systems also offers hard tags, specialty tags and then products from the Alpha Division as well. The high-risk product protection devices include spider wraps, which are alarmed wired cables and that surround the merchandise making it impossible to break into the box or packaging and remove the package without setting off the alarm on the spider wrap or should the shoplifter decide to try to leave with the spider wrap intact they will be detected by the electronic article surveillance anyway. There is also Alpha keepers that add to the Checkpoint label by placing the entire product inside a hardened polycarbonate box that is alarmed and requires a special magnetic key to open.
Defense-in-layers is a key axiom in physical security and applies to efforts to stop shoplifting as well. Should one layer of your system be compromised another layer will activate to detect a breach of your system. When you plan out your retail theft prevention strategies you need to think in term of layers. Your first layer in mind should be your merchandise inventorying and display policies, ensuring that you have strong policies and compliance as to what merchandise is to be protected by EAS labels and how they are protected, be it by multiple layers of Checkpoint labels, spider-wraps, or Alpha cases. Your next layer is your sales associates, making sure that they are providing good customer service that makes the would-be shoplifter feel very uncomfortable and your final layer is the electronic article surveillance antennae at the door. If you think in terms of layers, the next time someone asks that question about removing the tag, you can say “Let them try; layered protection has them covered.”
For more information on Checkpoint Systems contact us or call 1.770.426.0547 or www.antishoplifting.net.