Violence of Shoplifting

By now I suspect you have read Hayes International’s 28th Annual Retail Theft Survey reporting over 1.1 million shoplifter apprehensions that were made in only 21,288 retail stores in 2015. Dollar recoveries from those apprehended totaled over $150 million, plus another $142 million was recovered when the thief dropped the goods and got away.

No question, shoplifting is a big problem in stores throughout the U.S. In addition, serious acts of violence associated with shoplifters appear to also be on an upward trend. For example:
. Employee’s neck was slashed in New York store when a known thief was asked to leave by the victim.
. California: Two employees injured by suspected shoplifter while inside store. A pursuit by several employees chasing the suspect through two other stores was finally apprehended by police with drawn guns.
. North Carolina: A store clerk and customer received major injuries while attempting to stop three shoplifting suspect.
. Kansas: A trio of female thieves assaulted a store clerk.
. Indiana: A Good Samaritan was shot and killed by one of four suspects in a clothing store as he tried to stop the theft of clothing.

Be mindful that more and more shoplifters are becoming violent and refusing to comply with employees’ requests during a suspected theft.

Do you know your company’s policies relating to what actions are to be taken if you are involved in a suspected shoplifter encounter?

Company policies survey:
Recently I read an interesting article in the January-February 2017 Loss Prevention Magazine. It described the results of a survey pertaining to company policies of some major retail organizations representing 92,489 stores.

Since I was only focused on gathering information for this article that pertained to apprehension and chase policies, a portion of the survey results were omitted. Here’s a brief look at the findings:

Policies and Practices on Apprehending Shoplifters
– No apprehension policy = 18%
– No chase policy = 78%
– Limited chase policy = 8%
– No physical touch = 45%
– Allow the use of force only in self defense =35%
– Allow use of reasonable force = 15%
– Allow use of handcuffs = 20%

Majority (58%) of respondents indicated that it was not their policy to allow non-loss prevention staff to apprehend shoplifters. Although 42% indicated they allow store managers to apprehend thieves.
Caution: It is important to note that the surveyed stores were generally staffed with loss prevention personnel.

No matter whether your store is one that has a loss prevention staff or one without such security, make it a point to know and always comply with your company’s anti-shoplifting and chase-related policies. $

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