The Cost of Shoplifting and Employee Theft

Criminal justice students at Northern Michigan University got a lesson on retail loss prevention today.

They learned about the cost to society of assets lost through internal theft and shoplifting.

Bill Titus, vice president of loss prevention at Sears Holdings, says whatever is selling in big quantities is at risk.

He says loss prevention professionals need to be able to understand buying trends to identify the highest-risk items.

Titus says Sears will probably spend close to $150 million on loss prevention this year, and the company needs to offset that huge amount of money somehow.

It’s a sensitive topic for most retailers; they don’t want to tip their hand on the security measures that they employ.

So we spoke with several retailers off–camera today, and here’s what we learned.

Colder temperatures mean people wear larger coats to stores, which can make it easy to conceal stolen goods.

The holiday season is the busiest time of year for shoplifting and for loss prevention staff.

The stereotypical shoplifter might be a teenager, but some are in their eighties.

The products that get shoplifted the most are from the heath and beauty aisle.

Beer, wine and other alcohol products are next, followed by meat and spices.

Loss prevention agents don’t wear uniforms because they want to look like regular shoppers.

And they also say 99% of shoplifters who are caught are prosecuted.