Prevent Shoplifting – Change Attitudes?

Part of every retailer’s focus is to prevent shoplifting, which is the literal theft of the business by people who should know better.

 What goes through a shoplifter’s mind when he or she makes the decision to steal?

 First, the shoplifter has to rationalize the intent.  Is it inconvenient to have to pay for the merchandise?  Is the merchandise too expensive?  The store has so much, they won’t miss this one.  Whatever the shoplifter’s excuse is has no validity to the retailer, because it’s out and out theft to him.

 Next, the shoplifter’s attitude has to be such that what he is about to do is OK because of a lax attitude of his peers, or lack of moral education (stealing is wrong, but shoplifting is not so bad).

 Finally the threat of being caught has to be considered low or the penalty for being caught is minimal, and the merchandise being stolen (or the act of shoplifting by itself in some cases) has to be perceived as worth the risk.

 Realistically, attempting to prevent shoplifting by the retailer can only concentrate on the final factor.  The retailer must increase the risk of being caught, or increase the penalty for the apprehended shoplifter.  He can do very little to nothing about the shoplifter’s rationalization or his attitude.  Those intangibles have to be learned in the home or through other avenues that instill a sense of right and wrong.

 There are ways to increase both the chances of catching the shoplifter and to create the perception that apprehension is likely, or at least more likely at one particular store than another.

 Some stores post signs warning that shoplifters will be prosecuted, and follow through with the promise when the opportunity arises. 

 A better alternative is to prevent shoplifting in the first place.

 There are various means that retailers can use to reduce shoplifting:  increased staffing, merchandise placement, locking displays, reduced exposure of desirable items, closed circuit television, and audible alarms are common measures.

 Ultimately, it’s up to the retailer to decide how far he has to go to prevent shoplifting in his own environment, because attitudes are unlikely to change.

 Visit the Loss Prevention Store for products to help you prevent shoplifting in your business.

 For more information on how you can prevent shoplifting contact us or call 1.866.914.2567 – Atlanta Georgi