Tag Archives: Retail Crime

Checkpoint Systems’ EVOLVE-Store app provides retailers with real-time Electronic Article Surveillance

Checkpoint Systems, a leading global supplier of merchandise availability solutions for the retail sector, has announced the launch of EVOLVE-Store, a real-time app for smart phones and tablets that supports real-time electronic article surveillance (EAS) and organised retail crime event management.

The app was developed in response to retail customer requests for an easy means of ensuring that store associates leverage EAS investments appropriately, comply with store shoplifting policies and have EAS systems always turned on and operating in the correct manner.

Features in the EVOLVE-Store app enable retailers to measure and improve consumer conversion rates through real-time visibility of the number of shoppers in stores. The app also measures policy compliance by managing response times to alarm events.

By monitoring, measuring and managing an EAS program, retailers can deter opportunistic shoplifters and organised retail crime activity, reducing shrink and increasing shelf availability, sales and profits. In turn, this improves staff confidence and engagement with the EAS program, ensuring a significant improvement on the return on investment.

Additional features include a staff panic alert to request help from colleagues, an EAS night-save feature to save power when the store is closed, the ability to test, mute or disable EAS systems remotely and multi-user logins for each smart device. 

Beyond retailer advantages, shoppers benefit because stores can monitor inventory more closely and replenish ‘true’ out-of-stocks, so merchandise they seek will likely be available on shelves when purchasing online through click and collector buying directly in stores.

Moreover, studies have shown that shoppers feel safer in monitored retail environments.

“Technology should make life easier for both consumers and retailers,” said Uwe Sydon, senior vice-president of innovation at Checkpoint Systems. “EVOLVE-Store accomplishes this with simple implementation and proven loss prevention and merchandise availability benefits that offer advantages to everyone.”

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‘Christmas crime bonanza could cost the UK’s economy over £1 billion’ states The Shield Group

While the current trend is for general crime rates continuing to fall, shoplifting is on the rise. According to Home Office figures, the number of shoplifting offences in 2013-2014 has risen by 6.7% when compared to the previous year.

The Christmas period usually sees very little crime in most business sectors, but there’s one great exception: the retail industry. Since the recession in 2008, the holiday ‘free-for-all’ has become considerably worse with the increased footfall during the festive season something of a double-edged sword for UK retailers.

True, an influx of customers does cause sales to skyrocket, but it also leads to overcrowded shop floors, in turn providing the perfect cover for shoplifters.

Shoplifting is often considered a victimless crime. However, research shows this isn’t the case. The economic effects of shoplifting during the Christmas period are massive, with thieves stealing an average of £37.04 from every family.

In addition to these costs, for the staff working in shops and stores who are threatened with or subject to physical violence when confronted by thieves, this can have dire psychological effects.

The majority of retailers will encounter some form of security threat over Christmas, but it’s the large department stores that are targeted the most. This is due to them stocking those products most commonly found on the thieves’ wish lists. Items such as tablets, game consoles, perfume, women’s clothing and jewellery are most popular.

This doesn’t mean smaller shops shouldn’t watch out, though, as the thieves often approach smaller and more vulnerable retailers because they stock alcohol, Christmas decorations and, in some cases, high value food items, etc.

John Roddy: CEO at The Shield Group

John Roddy: CEO at The Shield Group

Being aware of the issues

John Roddy, CEO at The Shield Group, said: “Dramatic increases in shopper numbers creates the potential for serious problems. There are also some consumers who derive a thrill out of stealing. They typically pocket a ‘free’ gift during an otherwise legitimate shopping trip. However, traditional criminals also get in on the act as shops become so packed that it’s much harder for security teams to be aware of the issues. Add to this mix a thriving black market and the lure of swift financial gain is potentially all it takes to motivate the criminally inclined.”

Threats to retailers are not just external. During this time of year figures consistently show an increase in employee theft. This type of theft alone cost the UK economy over £300 million in 2013.

Temporary staff are often employed over the Christmas period, of course, and research recently conducted by First Advantaged shows that significantly more inaccuracies can be found in the CVs of seasonal workers when compared to those of their permanent staff colleagues.

Nearly 50% of education verification tests carried out on seasonal workers uncover discrepancies, while a third of employment history verifications turn up inaccuracies and discrepancies of some form.

According to Roddy, the solution to this issue lies with the retail owners themselves.

“Security should be every shop owner’s number one priority,” asserted Roddy, “not only to ensure that nothing is stolen, but also to guarantee the safety of both customers and staff alike.”

In conclusion, Roddy added: “By implementing appropriate security measures and reviewing the temporary staff that are being employed, there ought to be no reason why crime should be allowed to ruin the Christmas holidays.”

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UK retailers lose £2.7 billion to shoplifting, employee theft, internal fraud and administrative errors in last 12 months

According to the latest Global Retail Theft Barometer, shrink – comprised of shoplifting, employee theft, vendor or supplier fraud and administrative errors – has cost the retail industry more than £81 billion worldwide in 2013 and £2.7 billion in the UK alone. This represents 0.97% of all UK retailer sales on average.

Underwritten by an independent grant from Checkpoint Systems, the research was carried out in 2014 by The Smart Cube and Ernie Deyle, a retail loss prevention analyst. It’s based on in-depth phone and written survey interviews conducted in 24 countries among 222 retailers responsible for no less than £475 billion in sales.

The average cost of retail crime per person (which, unlike shrink, is based on dishonest employees, shoplifters, fraudulent suppliers and the cost of loss prevention) across the 24 countries surveyed ranged from £46 to £338. The annual cost of retail crime to UK shoppers, as passed on from retailers, averages £80.00 per person.

Shrink appears to be down slightly in most countries. The lowest shrink rates were recorded in Norway (.83% of retail sales) followed by Japan and the UK (.97%). The US came in at 1.48% of retail sales, down slightly from 1.50% last year. The highest rates were recorded in Mexico (1.70%) and China (1.53%).

Shrink (comprised of shoplifting, employee theft, vendor or supplier fraud and administrative errors) cost the retail industry more than £81 billion worldwide in 2013

Shrink (comprised of shoplifting, employee theft, vendor or supplier fraud and administrative errors) cost the retail industry more than £81 billion worldwide in 2013

Russell Holland, vice-president of sales for the UK and EMEA distributors at Checkpoint Systems, said: “Over the last year, retailers in the UK have been taking great strides and made substantial investments in the fight against retail crime. Many UK retailers reported that improved security methods have helped them to keep losses under control. We’re also seeing retailers invest in their employees’ education and understanding of loss prevention, marking an encouraging step in the fight against retail crime in the UK.”

While shoplifting remains the biggest cause of all retail shrink in 16 of the 24 countries surveyed, here in the UK both administrative and non-crime losses ranked first (at 36.5%) with shoplifting next on the list (at 25.3%).

Stolen merchandise: the most popular items

The most-stolen items across Europe are those products that are easy to conceal and harbour a good resale value, such as fashion accessories, wines and spirits. Other frequently stolen products include power tools, mobile accessories and make-up products.

Survey respondents state that source tagging – the application of EAS or RFID labels on goods prior to their arrival at retail stores – has increased around the globe. Such tagging is currently used on high value and high theft items like meat, health and beauty products and alcohol.

80% of UK retailers are source-tagging up to 10% of products. A further 20% are source-tagging over 20% of all merchandise. In addition, 50% of European retailers plan to increase the number of source-tagged SKUs.

According to The Smart Cube: “This report provides detailed descriptions of the sources of shrink and helps retailers understand the most cost-effective ways of addressing their problems. A number of Best Practices emerged from our research, including appropriate spending ranges to address the issue.”

Alcohol is a prime target for thieves

Alcohol is a prime target for thieves

“We’re pleased to support this global statistical research for the thirteenth year,” said Per Levin, president and chief sales officer for shrink management and merchandise visibility solutions at Checkpoint Systems. “Our hope is that retailers can learn more about the causes of shrink and work with their suppliers and solutions partners to create joint programmes designed to reduce shrink and its associated costs.”

Interested parties can obtain a copy of the latest Global Retail Theft Barometer report by logging on at: http://www.GlobalRetailTheftBarometer.com

*Retailers wishing to participate in next year’s Global Retail Theft Barometer study may register here

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ABCP and MRCI join forces to launch National Association of Business Crime Partnerships

The Association of Business Crime Partnerships has joined forces with the Midlands Regional Crime Initiative to form a new body called the National Association of Business Crime Partnerships.

Designed to tackle retail and business crime, the organisation has been established to set a new standard by which business crime might be measured and managed in town centres and to reduce the impact of such criminality on the UK’s High Streets.

Association of Business Crime Partnerships (ABCP) spokesperson Richard Barron commented: “The ABCP and the Midlands Regional Crime Initiative (MRCI) have been supporting and accrediting business crime reduction partnerships for over ten years now. Both organisations have stood the test of time, but the moment is now right for us to join forces and become the standard-setting business crime reduction partnership support organisation in England and Wales.”

Barron added: “I’m delighted that both organisations will be sharing their resources and expertise to further raise the standards and contribution of business crime reduction partnerships in their work with partners, stakeholders and statutory agencies to reduce crime affecting businesses in our towns, cities and shopping centres.”

The new NABCP logo

The new NABCP logo

David Wilson of the MRCI explained: “We have been listening to businesses and our partners for new ideas and a fresh look with innovative solutions to reduce business crime and provide a return on investment for our members. In collaboration with business crime reduction partnerships and businesses in general, a new strategy is being established to raise standards and enable the legitimate sharing of intelligence to deter offenders and prevent crime. The National Association of Business Crime Partnerships will be the organisation through which the ABCP and the MRCI will work together to deliver the new strategy.”

Tim Edwards, chairman of the Retail Loss Prevention Fashion Forum (a collective of heads of loss prevention operational at many of the High Street’s biggest fashion brands) stated: “This development is long overdue. We’re delighted to support the establishment of a national body representing the interests of business crime partnerships and one which will set a benchmark standard of what ‘Good’ should look like. We will be working with the new organisation over the coming months to ensure that our stores and businesses have the best possible collaborative working relationship with their local business crime reduction partnerships to help reduce stock losses, protect our staff and improve the local retail environment for customers.”

Over the coming months, the National Association of Business Crime Partnerships will work collaboratively with business crime reduction partnerships and stakeholders to further raise the standards of accredited partnerships by:
• Maximising opportunities for the detection of offenders involved in retail and business crime
• Gathering and sharing intelligence on those involved in retail and business crime
• Further developing the collaborative intelligence sharing arrangement in place with the National Business Crime Solution (NBCS)
• Working with stakeholders to educate and divert offenders away from High Street crime
• More effectively meeting the needs of businesses in minimising opportunities for theft from their premises
• Ensuring business crime reduction partnerships operate to the highest possible standards of data sharing/processing in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998

*Further information on the National Association of Business Crime Partnerships is available by contacting Richard Barron via e-mail at: richard.barron@businesscrime.org.uk

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Association of Business Crime Partnerships: Annual Conference 2014

The Association of Business Crime Partnerships’ annual Business Crime Conference will take place on Wednesday 24 September 2014 at the Jury’s Hotel, Midsummer Boulevard in Milton Keynes.

The conference will focus on business crime reduction partnerships and their work and will provide essential information and networking opportunity for everyone whose work encompasses business crime.

The speaker programme will feature contributions from business crime reduction partnerships, a national retailer, a leading retail crime consultant and the PCC lead for business crime.

The conference will give delegates from partnerships, police and other agencies the opportunity to meet with practitioners from across the country and to hear from them about their work and the challenges faced in dealing with business and retail crime in the face of financial constraints.

The ABCP Business Crime Conference 2014 takes place on Wednesday 24 September at the Jury's Hotel, Milton Keynes

The ABCP Business Crime Conference 2014 takes place on Wednesday 24 September at the Jury’s Hotel, Milton Keynes

The conference will also feature the Partnership Excellence Awards, which showcase and recognise some of the innovative and important work carried out by business crime reduction partnerships.

Winners and runners-up will receive cash prizes and certificates.

The delegate cost is £20 per person and includes luncheon, teas and coffees.

To book your place, and to apply for a partnership excellence entry form, send an e-mail to: kym.curtis@thamesvalley.pnn.police.uk

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The Shield Group advises UK retailers as retail crime increases

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has announced that the direct cost of crime to retailers last year rose to £511 million – 166% higher than in 2007-2008.

A leading expert from The Shield Group, the UK’s ninth largest business security company, has looked at today’s figures and offers retailers advice on how to best protect themselves in 2014.

Paul Bland, divisional director-retail of The Shield Group, is hoping his advice can help retailers better prepare during a time of increased incidents of theft and fraud.

Last year, retailers suffered the highest level of theft for nine years. Thefts by customers rose to their highest level for nine years, with the average value of items stolen going up by 62% to £177.

High value items being targeted include electrical goods, designer clothing, handbags and power tools.

With the well-publicised struggles of the British High Street of late, the added crippling cost of theft could force many retailers to shut their High Street branches, with small-to-medium sized business affected the most.

According to the BRC’s annual Retail Crime Survey, retailers suffered 2.7 million offences in the year 2012-2013. While burglary, robbery and staff theft all take their toll by pushing up retail costs, shoplifting and the rise of supply chain fraud are having by far the biggest impact.

Paul Bland: divisional director of retail at The Shield Group

Paul Bland: divisional director of retail at The Shield Group

Last year, theft values by customers reached their highest level in almost a decade, meaning this type of criminality now accounts for more than 80% of all retail crime. Supply chain fraud increased by 15% from the previous year as organised criminal gangs have become more sophisticated in their approach.

Retail criminality has evolved

In recent years, retail crime has evolved and surpasses the rather more obvious shoplifting to more complex crimes like cyber fraud, organised robbery and employee theft, in turn affecting larger and smaller businesses alike.

As a result, both independent and small retailers are turning in ever-greater numbers to private security companies for security solutions. Sector-trained security and loss prevention officers are well placed to stifle criminal activities on the shop floor and implement rigorous crime and loss prevention measures to discourage theft, reduce shrink while promoting a safer, more profitable shopping environment.

The Shield Group believes that the implementation of intelligence-led security solutions across retail communities has played a vital role in preventing imminent and potential criminal threats. As retail crime evolves, it’s more necessary than ever to use these measures to anticipate and pre-empt crime by sourcing, analysing and exploiting timely intelligence.

Effective governance is being built through proactive criminal investigations, the development of Best Practice techniques with retailers and the transmission of evidence to the authorities.

Alcohol is a target for many thieves

Alcohol is a target for many thieves

A cost-effective method for small retailers to increase their security success rate is active co-operation between each other, as well as with private security firms, community groups and the police. The volume of information now shared results in a ‘constant chatter’ between these entities, discussing subject matter such as movements of known shoplifters, real-time notification of thefts and new theft techniques, as well prominent prosecutions.

This intelligence-fed security approach equips retailers with the information required to adapt to changing theft techniques and implement strategies that best protect their brands for the future.

Focus of product security

Product security is no longer focused solely on the shop floor. Digital marking and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tracking now plays a key role in protecting the whole supply chain from warehouse to customer.

Frontline security officers have contributed to a 50% fall in robbery and violence against staff and customers. This gives retailers confidence that security officers are able to step in at the critical moment to diffuse tensions and respond quickly to situations before the local police arrive, acting as a vital deterrent to criminals.

Technological advances are also helping many small retailers react to crime while it’s being committed. Improvements in Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) systems, in-store and local CCTV and other technological advances are discouraging criminals and helping managers better allocate human resources.

New methods for preventing theft

Paul Bland, the divisional director for retail at The Shield Group, commented: “We have found retailers are spending more on private security measures now than they have in the past as they need to think of new ways to protect themselves from theft which last year cost UK retailers over £511 million in losses. The implementation of intelligence-led security solutions across retail communities will play a vital role in preventing imminent and potential criminal threats. As retail crime evolves, we believe it is more necessary than ever to use these measures to anticipate and pre-empt crime by sourcing, analysing and exploiting timely intelligence.”

Bland went on to state: “The Shield Group is seeing a large increase in active co-operation between individual retailers, private security firms, community groups and the police. The volume of information now shared results in a ‘constant chatter’ between these entities, discussing subject matter such as movements of known shoplifters, real-time notification of thefts and new theft techniques, as well prominent prosecutions.”

In conclusion, Bland commented: “Technological advances are helping many retailers react to crime while it is being committed. Alarms, in-store and local CCTV and other technological advances are discouraging criminals and helping security managers better allocate human resources. Private security companies such as The Shield Group are now offering a Total Security Solutions (TSS) model, allowing them to focus solely on securing their clients’ premises, employees and customers. This innovative model has proven a success with many retailers across the nation, leaving them to concentrate on serving their customers better.”

Top security tips for SMB retailers

(1) Carry out a crime and loss prevention risk assessment

(2) If outsourcing security, ensure the company chosen is able to demonstrate sector expertise and provide the sort of protection and services required

(3 Make sure that crime prevention systems are up-to-date and working well with regular reviews and checks

(4) Senior management must demonstrate a commitment to driving loss prevention culture engagement from all staff

(5) Ensure store management attend local crime prevention group meetings and that intelligence obtained from the authorities is communicated to staff at all levels

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