Security Case Study: Shoplifters on Shop Theft – Implications for Retailers

Who for: Retailers.

Methods: Literature review, sampling and interviewing of offenders, visits to crime scenes with offenders, filming of offenders at crime scenes, and production of final report.

Description: Shoplifters across three continents were interviewed, and some were filmed as they recreated their crimes. The project ‘Shoplifters on shop theft: implications for retailers’ offers important insights into how thieves say they steal and provides retailers with ideas that can help them tackle shoplifting. The report looks at the ‘decision circle’, the six key stages at which thieves make decisions about their stealing. The report outlines the different ways in which retailers inadvertently help thieves. For example, thieves were able to find plenty of blind spots in store to disguise their stealing, and staff were often disinterested in them and this made things easier, there were also a lack of effective exit controls. This international study found that although countries and stores may vary, shoplifter approaches are remarkably similar and they use very similar techniques to avoid being detected by alarms, tags, cameras and guards.

Actionable Outputs: This report makes a number of recommendations for making life more difficult for thieves and highlighted what thieves relied on to succeed. It also made a number of suggestions for further research as offender perspectives remain a largely unexplored area.

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