loss prevention agent
One of the most important roles of the loss prevention agent is his/ her ability to identify a shoplifter and subsequently apprehend that individual. Now, this sounds a lot easier than it actually is. Shoplifters generally fit into one of two categories: professional and amateur. For the professional shoplifter thievery is a business and because this is how they make their living they are subject to lash out or become violent when confronted. For the amateur, shoplifting is simply a crime of opportunity. They may be slightly easier to spot, but both can potentially lead to the demise of your business if you don’t take the proper steps to stop them.
Unfortunately there is no “average shoplifter”. They come in all shapes, sizes, ages, races and from any number of different backgrounds. That’s why it is essential that the loss prevention agent know what to look for when trying to identify them. If an individual spends most of their time watching the cashier, sales associates and other customers rather than actually shopping, that’s a good sign that they may be up to no good. Baggy clothes or large jacket or coats when they’re not called for is another red flag you should be watching for.
Remember: you don’t have to be a loss prevention agent to know that cameras aren’t allowed in restroom and fitting rooms. They shoplifters are well aware of this fact, so you need to keep a watchful eye on these areas. You may see an individual go into the fitting room with 4 items and come out with only 2, or they may enter the restroom with merchandise and come out with nothing in their hands. You still need to perform your due diligence and ensure that the merchandise wasn’t left in the room, but this is a good place for the loss prevention agent to begin his investigation.
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The retail industry is probably the business category with the greatest need for a loss prevention agent. The purpose of the agent, or loss prevention investigator, is to identify and resolve issues pertaining to the loss of assets – merchandise, property, cash, or any other kind of property – and to prevent such losses from occurring.
Many times the value of a loss prevention agent is intangible. The true value of the agent’s value is reflected in the lack of shortage, the decrease in theft, the saving of the operational expense budget dollars through tighter controls. Actually, the fewer apprehensions of shoplifters, the fewer terminations for employee theft, the fewer procedural violations uncovered, the more successful the loss prevention investigator may be considered.
There are retailers that take on the role of their own loss prevention department, or assign its responsibility to another area of the business. The fact is that the role of the loss prevention agent is highly specialized with skills developed over a wide variety of situations. It is not an area for someone without training or experience, or the results of the loss prevention program will not be optimal.
But for a retailer with one or only a few locations, the addition of a loss prevention agent may not be practical. In that case, the solutions might be a partnership with a company of loss prevention consultants, who can react to immediate issues, set up a practical loss prevention program, conduct periodic audits, and track progress and measure successes.
The best answer for a retailer then may be to “dip his toe in the loss prevention pool” by consulting with an expert loss prevention agent who can analyze, identify and correct procedural vulnerabilities, as well as one who possesses the skills to interview staff members and develop information that leads to the elimination of unacceptable employee behavior. And an added benefit is the training in shoplifter prevention and shortage awareness can present to all employees.
The loss prevention agent is not a police officer and has different priorities. The priority of a loss prevention investigator or agent is to improve the profitability of the business through the reduction and recovery of loss. The priority of a police officer is (as it should be) the reduction of crime in society.
In most organizations the loss prevention agent is the first line of defense between you, the business owner, and the would-be criminals who are trying to rob you of your profits. External theft, or shoplifting, prevention is what most people associate the job to be about. They either work undercover on the sales floor, pretending to be shopping while providing surveillance of all activities going on within the building, or they’re posted in a camera room monitoring the store’s CCTV system for any wrong-doing. Once a shoplifter is spotted it is the loss prevention agent who goes out to apprehend and detain them until the police arrive.
The loss prevention agent is also responsible for investigating internal, or employee, theft. There will often be times when in the course of their day they observe a cashier taking money from the till or free bagging merchandise for a friend or relative. In those direct and concrete cases it is their duty to apprehend the employee and any conspirators involved in order to keep the money or merchandise within the store. In more complicated cases the loss prevention agent may simply be called upon to build a case and gather evidence against an individual or group of individuals. His/ her superior will then come in to conclude the case.
No two days are alike in this line of work. One day you may be faced with a group of raucous teenagers who are causing a diversion in one part of the store while their associate fills a backpack full of clothing. The next day an assistant manager may be observed pinching a $100 out of the cash room till and placing it in his pocket. Later that day a group of thugs may run in, grab a handful of merchandise and run out. The loss prevention agent must stay vigilant and be ready for any and all circumstances.
For more information about loss prevention consultants or loss prevention investigator contact us at Loss Prevention Agent or call 1.866.914.2567 – Atlanta Georgia
The job of the loss prevention investigator can be a complicated one. You are the main line of defense that a company has against shoplifters and dishonest employees. As such it is your responsibility to investigate shrinkage and loss, determine where they originated from and, if necessary, apprehend the individuals responsible for that loss. The job’s not over there though. You may also be called up to testify in a court of law as to the criminal activity of the person you apprehended. For this reason you must be thorough and communicate your thoughts effectively.
Sadly enough, most people are not eager to take responsibility for their actions and accept the consequences. Therefore they enlist the services of legal council to try to find any loophole possible to get them out of trouble. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve showed up to court in my Sunday best just to have the defense attorney take one look at me and plead guilty. See, if your case is airtight (and it should always be) there last hope is if the loss prevention investigator doesn’t show up to court. The case gets thrown out and the criminal walks.
Now if something like that happens (or you simply lose your case due to poor preparation or communication) you have a new set of problems on your hands. A defendant that has been found not guilty by a court of law can then return and attempt to sue you and your company. This is why it is so important that you always have an airtight, prosecutable case before making an apprehension, maintain good records, and have the ability to convey your thoughts calmly and professionally to a judge if necessary. These are all key to being a successful loss prevention investigator.
For more information about loss prevention agent or loss prevention consultants contact us: Loss Prevention Investigator or call 1.866.914.2567
I have to say that the thing I’ve always liked most about being a loss prevention investigator is the fact that no 2 days are alike. One day you may have to corral a paranoid schizophrenic kleptomaniac housewife and the very next day you may find yourself in the midst of a gang-banger initiation. (Both of these have happened to me, by the way) It’s definitely an exciting life, but as I’m sure you can imagine it can be a potentially dangerous one if you don’t take the proper precautions, keep your head on a swivel and stay ready for any and everything.
As a loss prevention investigator I’ve done a lot of work in the state of Wisconsin. (The frozen tundra for you football fans) To say it gets cold there is more than just an understatement. However, I keep it pretty toasty in my office, so a couple of weeks ago while working – wearing nothing but a pair of khakis and a t-shirt- I spot a “gentleman” loading up a cart full of high end tennis shoes. Sure enough he fills it to the brim and starts heading for the door. Being the Action Jackson wanna-be that I am I jumped up and went to apprehend him – without a jacket. He did NOT come quietly.
After knocking down one of my colleagues and taking a little jog through a waist-high snow bank the local police had to pull their weapons on him before he finally stopped. Well, now I’m sweating, I’m wet and I’m outside in 4 degree weather dressed in nothing but a t-shirt. Luckily the responding officer let me take a breather in the warm squad car. Of course this was probably just because he couldn’t understand my statement over the sound of my teeth chattering. Point of the story: determination and chutzpa are great, but without preparation and readiness a loss prevention investigator can find his/ herself up a creek without a paddle… or in the snow without a coat… or something.
For more information about loss prevention agent or loss prevention consultants contact us: Loss Prevention Investigator or call 1.866.914.2567 – Atlanta Georgia
It is the primary job of a loss prevention agent to apprehend shoplifters and detain them until the police arrive. At which time it is the police officer’s job to either arrest the shoplifter or issue them a citation for retail theft (depending on the law in the city or town you happen to be working in). Therefore it is vital that the loss prevention agent build and maintain a working relationship with their local law enforcement agency.
Over the years I have managed to establish a rapport with several great police officers who are happy to show up when called and do what needs to be done. However, I have heard a number of horror stories from others in this line of work. In certain cases I’ve been told of officers showing up and being irritated, or “having an attitude”, about having to arrest the subject. Others have complained about being treated like a criminal themselves by the responding officers. To this I quote the old adage “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”.
It is vital that as a loss prevention agent you follow all of the proper steps to making an apprehension, have your facts straight and have all the necessary paperwork in order for the officer when he/ she arrives – every time. See, nobody likes having to clean up somebody else’s mess – including the police. If your work is shoddy and unprofessional you can expect to be treated as being unprofessional. Be confident and precise, show the proper attention to detail and before you know it a great working relationship will have been established between law enforcement and the loss prevention agent.
For more information about loss prevention consultants or loss prevention investigator contact us: Loss Prevention Agent or call 1.866.914.2567 – Atlanta Georgia
The Perception of A Loss Prevention Investigator – Atlanta GA
The role of a Loss Prevention Investigator, particularly in the retail business, is not always “catching the bad guy”’, although that sometimes happens. It is frequently closely related to that of a systems auditor. The investigator will closely examine loss prevention systems, policies, and procedures, conduct cash audits, perform spot inventory counts, and generally try to identify and report any areas that might need improvement to stop inventory shortages.
Occasionally, employee misconduct is discovered, and this generally where the perception of a loss prevention investigator as a “bad guy” begins.
This is when the loss prevention agent begins to develop a strategy to determine who is involved, how much was lost, and how was it done. Then, to put together a case to alleviate the problem, either termination and/or prosecution of the offending employee. And to design ways to prevent internal theft from re-occurring in the future.
Employees are naturally suspicious of anyone who looks at their daily jobs through a magnifying glass, which is exactly what a loss prevention agent will do. Sometimes there is resentment, and remarks are made by the employees who say, “What’s the matter, doesn’t management trust us?” Although it is a simple operations audit, there is the fear that they are doing something wrong.
The successful loss prevention investigator will build some rapport with the employees, managers, and subjects of the audit, but must remain fair and objective as he performs his duties.
The goal of the Loss Prevention Investigator is to become a business partner, contributing to the growth and profitability of the company that employs him.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there were approximately 45,500 people who held the position of a loss prevention agent in 2008. Why? Because according to the FBI there were 978,000 incidents of shoplifting the previous year. However, we all know that some shoplifters are slicker than others and quite a few get away unnoticed. So, as high as that number may seem I would invite you to double it. I think that’s probably closer to the actual number of shoplifting incidents throughout the country. This is why the loss prevention agent is vital.
If you’re the owner of a business, or even just the manager, you are constantly concerned with how to make the business run smoothly, how to get people into your stores, how to increase profits. Price points, revenue, sales, hiring, firing, training, etc. To make a long story short, your plate is full. The last thing you need to add to it is worrying about some group of degenerates who have targeted your establishment and deemed you an easy mark and are subsequently robbing you blind. That’s where the loss prevention agent comes in. It is their job to monitor the store for suspicious activity. They are the ones who apprehend shoplifters, testify in court, build cases against dishonest employees, etc. In short, whatever your shrink reduction needs are the loss prevention agent is there to serve.
As the economy continues its downward spiral and unemployment increases, people will become more and more desperate and the incidents of crime in America, including shoplifting, will inevitably increase. For this reason the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 22% job growth in this career field – substantially higher than most others – between now and 2018. As long as there is retail theft there will be a need for the loss prevention agent.
Imagine for a moment that you’re a loss prevention investigator and you’re on the job – alone. You spot an elderly Caucasian woman carrying an oversized pocketbook near the lingerie department. A sales associate approaches her but she quickly dismisses them then makes her way to a secluded corner of the store. Soon after an African-American man in his early 20’s comes in wearing baggy jeans and an oversized hooded sweatshirt. He is wearing a ball cap that’s pulled low over his eyes and he heads directly to the Electronics department. Again, you’re alone and you are now faced with a decision. Who do you keep under surveillance? Why?
A loss prevention investigator faces choices like these on a daily basis. However, you have to remember that stereotyping is not an option. To single out someone based on race, creed, religion, gender or age is immoral, and more importantly illegal. Now I know some of you are thinking, “Come on, everybody stereotypes a little bit. They don’t mean anything by it.” And you’re probably right. However, the loss prevention investigator does mean something by it. They mean to catch and prosecute those who break the law. They mean to go to court and testify to the validity of their choices and their actions. This is serious business.
So, who do you keep under surveillance? Well, it’s a trick question. The elderly lady has the means in which to conceal merchandise – her oversized pocketbook, and her avoidance of the associates and customers make her behavior understandably suspicious. The young man’s attire is his means in which to conceal and is simultaneously suspicious in certain circumstances. You are completely justified, for these reasons, to watch either one. If you’re a loss prevention investigator the choice is yours.
For more information about loss prevention agent or loss prevention consultants contact us at Loss prevention investigator or call 1.866.914.2567
The job of Loss Prevention Investigator can often be a dangerous one. We deal with sections of society that are often desperate and potentially violent. Therefore, one must always be prepared for the worst when attempting to apprehend a shoplifter. Most of the time the shoplifter who lashes out or begins to fight is simply trying to get away, but occasionally you’ll find those who have some sort of point to prove. In certain cities it is part of gang initiations, and some subjects are so impaired by drugs or alcohol that they barely know what they’re doing. A loss prevention investigator must keep all of these possibilities in mind.
In 2004 one of my detectives spotted an entire family (mom, dad, teenage daughter) concealing merchandise in several large bags that they were carrying. As they prepared to exit the store we positioned ourselves to apprehend them. My detective stopped the mother and daughter with little incident, however the father ignored him and kept walking. I approached the man and calmly tried to get him to stop and return with me inside to discuss the incident. Suddenly he turned to me brandishing a 5” knife and lunged at me. I managed to quickly sidestep the attack.
Due to the foolishly high level of testosterone that usually runs through my body I briefly thought about retaliating. However, becoming a human shish kabob has never been a dream of mine so I simply stepped away and allowed the man to escape. I immediately contacted the police, giving them his description and his vehicle’s license plate number. Within minutes he was arrested and taken to jail. In court I learned that the docile-looking family man was a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic with a history of violent criminal activity. Who knew? The loss prevention investigator must remain ready for anything.
For more information about loss prevention agent or loss prevention consultants contact us at: Loss Prevention Investigator or call 1.866.914.2567