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Article: Apprehend Merchandise, Not Shoplifters.

Updated: Jul 27, 2020

The Astronomical Impact of Pushout Thefts

Pushout theft is a phrase used to describe a method of shoplifting in which unpaid merchandise is loaded into shopping carts and simply pushed out of retail stores. It has been considered an epidemic that has been plaguing retailers for years. According to, pushout thefts cause an average loss of $562 per incident. With those types of losses, it’s no wonder why the 2017 National Retail Security Survey indicates losses attributed to shoplifting are estimated to be roughly $18 billion annually. To put this outrageously huge number into perspective, counting non-stop to 18 billion would take 1,537 years.

The Peril of Apprehending Shoplifters

Apprehending shoplifters is arguably the riskiest procedure contemplated by retailers. On one hand, the law allows for reasonable detention of a shoplifter who has stolen a retailer’s merchandise. On the other hand, the frequency of violent confrontations during the act of apprehending shoplifters appears to be increasing with no end in sight. A basic internet search of news stories reporting the deaths of retail loss prevention employees reveals startling numbers. And when non-fatal injuries are added to the list, it doesn’t take long to realize that apprehending shoplifters continues to be a risky business.

The Genius of Apprehending Merchandise

With the continued advancement of technology, it is time for retailers to reevaluate how they address pushout thefts. It is reasonable to assume that shoplifters brazen enough to simply push a shopping cart full of stolen merchandise out of a store have a higher propensity to be violent. After all, it is highly unlikely that a first-time shoplifter would utilize this method, meaning these suspects are more likely to have been living a life of crime for some time.

So if this risk of apprehending these shoplifters is so high, why not stop the practice of apprehending them? With today’s technology, it really is that simple. Rather than apprehend shoplifters, retailers can simply apprehend the stolen merchandise before it leaves the store. This requires no confrontation. In fact, it requires no interaction with the shoplifter at all.

Gatekeeper Systems, the worldwide leader in cart containment and pushout theft prevention solutions, offers a system to eliminate the extremely dangerous and high-risk acts of shoplifter apprehensions. With Gatekeeper’s Purchek™ solution, the wheels on any shopping cart that a shoplifter is attempting to push out of the store without first going through an active checkout will simply lock-up. This temporarily renders the shopping cart useless; a benefit denial type of prevention method that some of the most forward-thinking retailers are implementing.

In today’s environment of what some call the “decriminalization of shoplifting,” a term used to describe how many states have increased the felony dollar amount thresholds, it is paramount that retailers begin to reconsider how they go about addressing the apprehension of shoplifters. Sending employees to confront an unknown criminal who is attempting to steal merchandise is a trend that is rapidly fading, and one that is unnecessary for many retailers.

Run with the Pack

Retail Loss Prevention (LP) professionals have always had one thing in common: they network well. They take the time to learn what their peers are doing, and never hesitate to reach out to an LP executive they may never have previously met just to ask how a particular initiative has been working. When it’s all said and done, the most successful LP executives understand that they are all fighting the same battles, and in many cases, the same enemies.

That’s why Gatekeeper sat down with several successful Loss Prevention executives to discuss how they go about obtaining capital for important initiatives they know will positively impact their stated objectives. In particular, Gatekeeper’s Pushout Theft Prevention solution. Gatekeeper’s findings were captured in an eBook recently released to the retail industry. Learn what the LP experts had to say by downloading Building a Case for Pushout Prevention: A Guide for Loss Prevention Executives here.

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