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Ask The Experts: Theft and loss prevention

Cctv Or Surveillance Operating On Building EntranceBy Dave Perry

Q We’ve recently had some shoplifting problems at our children’s clothing franchise. How can we prevent more of this in the future?

Dave says:
Shoplifting is Canada’s number one property crime and a significant issue for all retailers. According to a 2006 National Retail Security Survey, 31.6 per cent of shrinkage comes from shoplifting. Like all criminals, shoplifters are creatures of habit who tend to operate in areas where they feel safest. Greeting customers, making eye contact and engaging with them is a positive way of welcoming shoppers and a subtle way of discouraging shoplifters. Furthermore, you can prevent shoplifting by training staff in theft and fraud awareness, modifying the physical layout of your store and installing the latest video surveillance technology to secure your assets.

Q I’m afraid one of my employees is stealing from my food-service franchise. How can I monitor his behaviour, even when I’m not there?

Dave says:
According to the same National Retail Security survey, 46.8 per cent of inventory shrinkage is attributed to employee theft. Owners and managers often have their suspicions, but they usually don’t know what to do about it. Investigating the timelines, opportunities and employees working at key times often reduces the number of suspects significantly. Once you have this information, you have many options to catch them with covert cameras, by hiring private investigators or by performing daily sales and inventory audits. Your main goal is not only to identify all the employees involved, but also to collect information that will allow you to take legal action.

The best way to prevent employee theft is through a proper hiring and screening process that includes behavioural interview techniques geared towards detecting deception supported by thorough expert background screening. If you add up the costs associated with an unsuccessful hire (advertising, recruiting, training) and employee theft, it is worthwhile to be prepared.

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