EAS Tags Stop Shoplifting But Require Attentive Employees
How is it that a pair of shoplifters can enter a store, remove EAS tags from clothing and in the process fill up an entire shopping cart? I read an article on winknews.com, by Derrick Shaw, September 7, 2018, “Cape Coral Police ask for help Identifying two Burlington theft suspects” and according to the report this is exactly what happened. The pair left with $600 in merchandise and an exterior video camera captured a picture of the suspect’s car in the parking lot. As I looked at the picture of the dynamic duo entering the store and the picture posted of the car and parking lot a couple of things stood out to me that piqued my Loss Prevention curiosity. First, there are electronic article surveillance antennas at the doors and a closed circuit television camera was used to gather pictures so security is a priority in some fashion. I also noted it was night time and the parking lot was devoid of cars. I can only see two vehicles in the entire parking lot and one is believed to belong to the criminals. This leads me to believe there were very few shoppers in the store and these two should have stood out. Why were they able to remove EAS tags from $600 worth of clothing without being noticed by associates?
I am going to take an educated guess and say that if this crime took place in early September as the report indicates and it was as dark as the pictures indicate then it was most likely getting close to closing time. In my 27 years plus in retail I feel safe in assuming employees were more concerned with recovering the store from the activity earlier in the day. Clothing racks needed to be sized and straightened, garments on tables folded and placed back where they were supposed to go. I have no idea how many workers would have been in the store but if I had to take a stab at it I would guess anywhere from 3 – 5 people were working, a manager, a cashier, and a couple of salesfloor associates. There seems to have been a breakdown in priorities or training for employees on how to stop shoplifting needs to be reviewed. It does seem from my searching the internet that the stores do employ store level Loss Prevention Associates but I could not determine if every store has them or if they are in the store at all times. I know that in my years as a Loss Prevention Manager for a big box retailer with a Loss Prevention team we did not have the staff to cover the store from open to close. We relied on our store associates to provide exceptional customer service to help deter shoplifters and report suspicious activity in our absence.
Store managers and owners, many of you with smaller stores have to contend with theft issues with no support of a Loss Prevention professional. What do YOUR store employees do to deter crime? Have they been trained on the importance of providing customer service both to improve sales but also to stop shoplifting from taking place? Are you using EAS tags on your merchandise? Congratulations if you are using a Sensormatic security system and tags however, as we see in the case of the $600 clothing caper it does little good if there is no customer service to support it. A balanced approach to theft prevention requires the installation of an anti-theft system and training employees on how they deter criminals by offering help. They must also be trained on recognizing the signs someone intends to steal and steps to intervene appropriately. While awareness of activity at all times of the day or night is important there are indicators that shoplifters give off. Loss Prevention Systems, Inc. provides training that will give you AND your associates the information and tools necessary to stop shoplifting and still get the daily tasks completed that keep a store running.
Small stores are going to have fewer employees at any given time than a national chain store. This makes it more crucial for your employees to be knowledgeable of how criminals operate and how to give service that will stop them. Placing EAS tags on merchandise is a deterrent to criminal activity but effectiveness is only as good as the people who are trained in how they work and how to respond to alarms. Let Loss Prevention Systems, Inc. give you all the information you need on Sensormatic systems and tags and how your employees can be an integral part of your merchandise protection strategy.
Need information on EAS tags? Give us a call at 1.866.914.2567 now.