34-year-old father shot dead after confronting alleged shoplifter. This is a real headline. A real person, and real kids that no longer have a father. It’s the headline that keeps Loss Prevention professionals up at night wondering, “Have I done enough?” When and where these tragedies occur is no more predictable than a lightning strike. Yet, retailers continue to defy conventional wisdom by playing in stormy weather – for no reason.
Sadly, headlines like these have become commonplace. Every day, front-line employees and loss prevention staff are tasked with identifying and apprehending shoplifting suspects, trading their safety and well-being for the merchandise they were hired to protect. For many it’s the monetary value of a full shopping cart, which ultimately rings in at an unimaginable cost. We’ve all heard the story. It plays out the same way every time. The retailer might be different, the merchandise might be different, and the degree of the violence might even be different. However, the post-incident response is always the same to our teams: “No amount of merchandise is worth compromising your safety.” Yet, we continue sending our greatest and most valuable assets to the front lines as if nothing has happened.
We’ve all seen how the do-nothing scenario plays out. But, for those asking, what are the odds this will happen to me? Well, in the United States, about 10 million shoplifters were apprehended in the last 5 years. I’ll invite you to do the math:
- 44% of offenders interviewed by the Loss Prevention Research Council (LPRC) had engaged in violence during a theft attempt (www.lpresearch.org)
- 21.6% of all pushout thefts end in violence (Gatekeeper Systems Pushout Theft Annual Snapshot)
That is 880,000 acts of violence against our retail store and security associates each year. If only a fraction, say, one-half of one percent (.005%) resulted in life-threatening injuries, our industry would be hospitalizing or mourning the loss of 4,400 employees every year (12 employees per day). These numbers worsen as repeat offenders turn to higher value pushout thefts, with more at stake. These are not statistics the retail Loss Prevention industry can live with and quite frankly, neither can our retail store employees.
Loss Prevention professionals have big jobs with a tremendous amount of responsibility. Responsibilities include but are not limited to both shrink/theft reduction AND safety. Successful leaders meet these responsibilities by leaning heavily on the solution provider community. Technology, such as Gatekeeper Systems Purchek®, allows retailers to transition their theft mitigation efforts away from apprehension to a true prevention-based approach. While Purchek® is preventing theft, your employees can do more meaningful work, safely, away from violent confrontations. Since these interventions are 100% behavior based, it takes the guesswork and violent confrontations out of the equation. This ensures that your company’s brand reputation is also protected from damaging discrimination and profiling claims.
Before you put the calculator away, check the numbers again. They don’t lie. Every day, twelve family’s lives may change forever. We must stop looking the other way. Hope is not a strategy. We can no longer allow our deniability to become plausible. Employee safety and well-being must be part of everything we do. Words are important, but we must also demonstrate through our actions that safety is a value. We owe it to our employees and their families. Don’t wait for the next headline to ask, “have I done enough?” Take a moment to ask Gatekeeper about their Purchek® solution. Then, you can finally start sleeping well at night.
Gatekeeper Systems’ expanded product suite of intelligent cart solutions offers solutions for EVERY retailer’s needs to minimize merchandise loss and reduce asset and labor expenditures.
Gatekeeper’s loss prevention, retail analytics, and cart containment solutions utilize patented locking wheel technology to put an end to cart-based shoplifting, shopping cart loss, and uninformed decision-making. Cart management solutions increase safety and reduce labor costs by maximizing productivity while simultaneously resulting in a positive store image.
Intelligent pushout theft prevention solutions stop thieves and their cart full of unpaid merchandise from leaving the store. Customizable wheel technology allows retailers to defend their entire store or just a high loss department based on the store’s unique layout.
NEW Retail Analytics solutions provide increased visibility for informed decision making. Increase efficiency, optimize fleet size, and perfect the entire customer shopping experience with store and enterprise-level analytics.
Find out why the top 20 retailers that use shopping carts rely on Gatekeeper solutions.
To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, click here.