Star­ing at theft

Look sho­plifters in the eye

Herald Sun - - NEWS - KAREN COL­LIER karen.col­[email protected]

STORE staff are be­ing trained to look cus­tomers di­rectly in the eye to turn them off shoplift­ing.

Se­cu­rity ex­perts say the highly prof­itable Christ­mas shop­ping blitz was a prime time for theft.

Higher food prices, es­pe­cially for meat, tempted more peo­ple to steal, ac­cord­ing to Check­point Sys­tems vi­cepres­i­dent Mark Gen­tile.

Re­tail losses anal­y­sis re­veals eas­ily con­cealed bat­ter­ies, ra­zors and small tech­nol­ogy items such as mo­bile phone ac­ces­sories, USB sticks and SD stor­age cards are among the most com­monly swiped goods over the hol­i­day sea­son.

Skin­care, cos­met­ics, per­fumes, gourmet meat, seafood, bour­bon and whiskey, branded toys and beauty gift sets are also high on thieves’ radars.

Mr Gen­tile said tech­nol­ogy, such as an­titheft tags that alerted stores when prod­ucts had not been paid for, were not the only line of de­fence.

“We rec­om­mend store staff greet and make eye con­tact with every cus­tomer that comes in,” Mr Gen­tile said. “This, along with vis­i­bly tagged prod­ucts, puts off po­ten­tial op­por­tunis­tic sho­plifters be­cause they no longer feel in­vis­i­ble.

“When you look at some­one di­rectly … you are get­ting that in­stant en­gage­ment with that per­son and they know you are be­ing vig­i­lant.”

Re­tail­ers, in­clud­ing mid-tier de­part­ment stores and su­per­mar­kets, have tri­alled new cam­era and video tech­nol­ogy to de­tect “in­cor­rect scan” scams and steal­ing.

Other ad­vances to tackle self-serve check­out cheats in­clude an au­to­mated prod­uct recog­ni­tion sys­tem that iden­ti­fies types of fruit and other items. At some su­per­mar­kets, en­tire shelves of baby for­mula have been fit­ted with se­cu­rity de­vices that can only be re­moved at reg­is­ters.

Shoplift­ing costs the re­tail sec­tor about $9.3 bil­lion a year.

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