Shoplifting during the holiday season | Maple Valley business watch newsletter

Covering shoplifting prevention and the consequences on everyone

  • BY Wire Service
  • Thursday, December 4, 2014 4:49pm
  • Business

When theft, be it petty or grand theft, from a commercial business occurs, the effects of shoplifting are detrimental to everyone. Negative effects of shoplifting affect business owners, business customers, and teenagers, and society as a whole. The deleterious effects of shoplifting cost United States businesses approximately sixteen billion dollars every year. About one out of every three new businesses fails because of the effects of shoplifting.

The effects of shoplifting are harmful to consumers. Stores will often be forced to increase the price of their merchandise in order to make up for the cost of stolen goods. Experts estimate that the average family will spend three hundred dollars every year to subsidize the cost of what shoplifters steal. These increased prices may discourage customers from supporting some businesses which creates even more negative effects of shoplifting.

Although Maple Valley has seen an increase in adult shoplifting, teens are often the perpetrators of shoplifting and can suffer the unfavorable effects. Even teens who have no intention of shoplifting may be discriminated against because of the suspicion that they may intend to steal goods from a store. The effects of shoplifting may make store owners suspicious of teens and discourage them from coming into stores.

The effects of shoplifting also impel store owners to have backpack or bag check in policies, security cameras, security guards or sensory systems, and other special alarms in order to deter shoplifters and catch offenders. Many businesses will prosecute shoplifters to the full extent of the law.

When a store owner or law enforcement has reasonable cause to suspect that a person has shoplifted, they usually have the legal right to detain them. When a teen commits theft their parents will be contacted, they will have to return the items, and they probably will not be allowed to enter that store for at least a year.

The effects of shoplifting on teens may also include legal implications. The legal effects of shoplifting vary by state and circumstance. The penalties for shoplifting often depend on the value of the merchandise stolen, and any prior history of shoplifting. The legal effects of shoplifting on a person who is convicted of this misdemeanor or felony crime can include jail or prison time, fines which are often far greater than the amount stolen and community service.

Tips to Prevent Shoplifting

Shoplifting Prevention

• Stress great customer service to increase sales and prevent shoplifting
• Instruct associates to remain on the sales floor as often as possible. Customer engagement is the best defense to shoplifting.
• Focus on the customer greeting. Greet customers with a smile and look them in the eyes. Customers love the attention and shoplifters hate it!

Shoplifting Awareness

• Tell associates to never accuse, chase or place their hands on a shoplifter.
• Stress the importance of following your specific company guidelines when apprehending a shoplifter.
• Have associates check all packages, containers or items that can hide merchandise when they come through point of sale.Safe Store Closing
• Tell associates to walk the store after closing to ensure all customers are gone.
• Ensure that doors are locked and all customers are gone before associates count funds or deposits.
• Tell associates that any relatives and friends should wait outside the store during closing.

Personal Safety

• Always close your stores with multiple persons.
• Coordinate an employee parking area so all employees walk to the same area for safety when leaving.
• Keep employee belongings in a secure place and away from outside entry.

The challenge during the holiday season is being ready and able to handle the fast pace of customers. Knowing what to expect and how to respond to situations that arise during shopping seasons will help associates better handle the pressure.


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