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Article: Law Enforcement to Retailers: “Technology is Your Answer”

At first, Loss Prevention executives thought slow responses by police officers coming to arrest shoplifters was due to understaffed police departments. Then reality hit. Sometime around the mid-1990s, many police departments started to consider shoplifting as a nuisance crime, one not as serious as the others they were dealing with. As violent crimes spiked, shoplifting crimes became about as serious as catching a 5-year-old sneaking a treat from a cookie jar.

This has forced retailers, large and small, to solve their shoplifting problems without help from law enforcement. Retailers have made various attempts to do this by updating or creating company policies. For example, some retailers only prosecute shoplifting after a suspect’s second offense at their store. Others only call the police if the suspect has attempted to steal more than a specified dollar amount. Regardless of the remedy, the law enforcement community has made it clear that retailers need to find other options to deal with shoplifting.

Proposition 47

Proposition 47, a California law passed on November 4, 2014, illustrates the dilemma retailers are being forced to contend with.  Proposition 47 reduced the severity of many non-violent crimes, including shoplifting. Now, a shoplifter in California can steal merchandise valued at less than $950 and they will only be charged with a misdemeanor. In 2015, shortly after Prop 47 took effect, the Los Angeles Times reported that “law enforcement officials and others have blamed Proposition 47 for allowing repeat offenders…to continue breaking the law with little consequence.”

Laws reducing specific dollar amount thresholds have already spread significantly throughout the country and are continuing. Most Loss Prevention executives understand this and are still trying to get ahead of it. However, a push for retailers to start employing technological solutions is coming from an unlikely source: law enforcement.

Theft-Preventing Technology

With a newfound focus for retailers to solve their own shoplifting problems, a fresh look at technological solutions is being pushed by law enforcement. Gatekeeper Systems Purchek® solution has been at the forefront of such discussions. For many law enforcement officers involved in community policing, they see Purchek® as a win/win solution. This is because the Purchek® prevents cartloads of unpaid merchandise from exiting the store by locking the wheels on shopping carts that fail to pass through a working checkout lane. With this solution, the merchandise stays with the retailer, and the failed shoplifter flees the store without the need for an employee/shoplifter confrontation.

Law enforcement is also quick to point out that these thieves are less likely to return to Purchek® stores, choosing instead to find a less challenging victim.

Thinking Differently

Thinking outside the proverbial box is nothing new to Loss Prevention executives or Law Enforcement personnel. But we live in a time when thinking differently has never been more important. The truth is that icreasing drug use and shoplifting pales in comparison to the increase in robberies, assaults, homicides and all other violent crimes. Retailers must start looking more toward technology to prevent thefts from occurring and less about apprehending shoplifters.

Using Gatekeeper Systems Purchek® not only apprehends merchandise instead of shoplifters, it also prevents violent confrontations between employees and dangerous shoplifters. What more can a retailer want?

About Gatekeeper

Gatekeeper Systems’ expanded product suite of intelligent cart solutions offers solutions for EVERY retailer’s needs to minimize merchandise loss and reduce asset and labor expenditures.

Gatekeeper’s loss prevention, retail analytics, and cart containment solutions utilize patented locking wheel technology to put an end to cart-based shoplifting, shopping cart loss, and uninformed decision-making. Cart management solutions increase safety and reduce labor costs by maximizing productivity while simultaneously resulting in a positive store image.

Intelligent pushout theft prevention solutions stop thieves and their cart full of unpaid merchandise from leaving the store. Customizable wheel technology allows retailers to defend their entire store or just a high loss department based on the store’s unique layout.

NEW Retail Analytics solutions provide increased visibility for informed decision making. Increase efficiency, optimize fleet size, and perfect the entire customer shopping experience with store and enterprise-level analytics.

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