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Miami Retail Security Guards Store Detectives Loss Prevention



A store detective is employed to deter and detect theft in retail outlets. Store Detectives is one of many common and less frequently used terms in the retail industry. More common terms today with major retailers are Loss Prevention Agent, Detective or Investigator and Asset Protection Officer or Investigator. Special Officer, once common, is now rarely used except in jurisdictions that still allow it.

Store detectives may be self-employed on a contract basis but most are employees of the retailer, of a security guard company with an outsourcing arrangement with the retailer, or of an agency with a similar agreement.

The job involves patrolling stores in the role of an ordinary shopper, watching for shoplifters. The store detective follows any shopper behaving suspiciously, and keeps records of such observations. The key difference between a store detective and a security guard is that the former’s role is covert. Other activities that a store detective holds in common with a security guard include detaining and searching suspects, calling the police, attending the questioning of a suspect, taking witnesses’ statements, reporting incidents, and giving evidence in court.

Most stores require their store detectives to have stable work histories and no criminal record. Common backgrounds include the armed services, rescue services, and security. In the UK, distance learning courses in store detection are offered by The Security Industry Training Organisation.
Retail Loss prevention
Retail Loss prevention is a form of private investigation into larceny or theft. The focus of such investigations generally includes shoplifting, package pilferage, embezzlement, credit fraud, and check fraud. “Loss prevention” or “LP” is used to describe a number of methods used to reduce the amount of all losses and shrinkage often related to retail trade.

The objective of loss prevention is to maximize profits through reducing shrinkage. According to the 2001 National Retail Security Survey, retail operations suffered an average annual shrinkage percentage of 1.75% in 2000. Although most retailers experience a shrinkage percentage of less than 2%, some smaller retailers often experience monthly and annual average shrinkage percentages as high as 20%. According to a study by the National Retail Security Survey 30.6% of shrinkage comes from shoplifting, 46% from employee embezzlement, 17.6% from administrative error, and 5.8% from vendor fraud. Because of the inherent need for companies to reduce operational costs, there is an ever-present need for experienced Retail LP professionals, particularly in the retail sector. Recently several associations such as the Retail Industry Leaders Association are offering new educational certification programs specifically for loss prevention. Among larger retailers there is a recent trend to include worker and customer safety programs into the traditional loss prevention job structure.
Types of Retail Loss Prevention Investigations

Main article: Shoplifting
Shoplifting is one of the most common property crimes in the United States today. Anyone can be a shoplifter, and this is an important fact for loss prevention investigators to understand. Those who focus on stereotypes such as race and age generally have a difficult time detecting shoplifting. Statistically, shoplifting occurs at approximately the same rate each day of the week and December is the only month in which convenience stores suffer appreciably increased losses. The 12-17 age group is statistically the most active shoplifting group in relationship to its size, followed by the 18-29 age group.

According to the 2004 17th Annual Retail Theft survey conducted by Jack L. Hayes International, 689,340 shoplifters were apprehended by 27 of the major U.S. retailers. This figure was a 4.86% increase from the 657,414 shoplifters apprehended in 2003. In 2004, $70,039,564 was recovered from shoplifting apprehensions, compared to $68,927,833 in 2003. In 2004, the average dollar value for a shoplifting apprehension was $101.60.

Retail Loss Prevention departments are run very differently from retailer to retailer. Centralized loss prevention departments are generally more common with discount retailers. Retailers like Target use a centralized command system in which there are floor people, a department manager, and a district manager. Decentralized loss prevention departments are more common among clothing retailers. Retailers like Dillard’s, for instance, have decentralized loss prevention departments in which there are usually only store investigators and sometimes off-duty police officers to assist in the arrest of shoplifters.

Attitudes towards shoplifting have shifted greatly in the last two decades. Retailers now want their investigators to focus more on prevention of theft rather than apprehension of shoplifting suspects. This is a result of numerous false arrest charges over the last two decades that have cost retailers millions of dollars in lawsuits. A false arrest is known in the loss prevention world as a “bad stop”. A bad stop generally occurs when an investigator arrests a suspect who turns out not to have stolen any merchandise.

Investigators must use their best judgment when establishing probable cause. Most retailers today have established certification programs which a loss prevention employee must pass before they can make arrests. These programs usually consist of a buddy system, which pairs a new investigator with an experienced investigator. These programs usually span several months.

One common method of bypassing steps is establishing the selection of merchandise. This is usually done by noting what a suspect was holding when first observed. If seen later with several items they did not have before, it may be reasonable to assume that the merchandise belongs to the retailer. Many feel that good judgment is the key to making successful apprehensions. At times not all conditions can or will be feasibly met to make an apprehension. However it is still possible to prevent the loss.

Some investigators have been known to attempt forms of consent searches in an attempt to obtain probable cause without legally detaining a person. It may be explained to the customer that “we need to check your receipt to be certain you were not double charged,” or some other reason. However such techniques, while not constituting false arrest, may still result in the firing of a loss prevention investigator if they are a violation of company policy. Others feel all steps must be met before any action is taken. This second approach is used to protect the company from lawsuits resulting from “bad stops” which insult innocent shoppers.

The strict adherence to the rules of apprehension have also come about as some criminals try to defraud the loss prevention industry by “egging on” or pretending to steal as a way to get LP officers’ attention, while others in the store are doing the stealing. Alternately, some people simply try to get themselves arrested falsely, for the purpose of suing the company. However, most companies allow investigators to use required measures in order to stop and detain shoplifters. This often includes the use of force while employing handcuffs.
Employee embezzlement is the theft or taking of property or funds entrusted to an employee by an employer. The most common type of retail embezzlement is cash theft. Other types include ringing up fake gift cards, passing merchandise, discount fraud, and, of course, theft of merchandise. Embezzlement investigations are widely known in the loss prevention industry as “internal investigations”.

According to the 2004 17th Annual Retail Theft survey, 63,289 employees were apprehended for dishonest activity. This is an increase of 4.01% or 60,850 employees over the figures of 2003. Retailers recovered $42,468,681 from incidents stemming from employee dishonesty in 2004, an increase from 2003′s of $40,025,937. The average case value for an apprehended dishonest employee in 2004 was $671.03. This figure is notable, since it is nearly seven times the value of the average shoplifter apprehension.

Employee embezzlement is usually handled by investigators who generally have five or more years of experience in retail loss prevention. Cash theft is generally investigated using cash office audits that appear on exception reports and CCTV cameras. Fake gift cards are usually investigated through the use of an electronic journal in which the gift cards are logged.

The passing of merchandise is usually discovered through the use of an exception report in which a particular employee is shown to have a unusual amount of voids or no-sales. Generally merchandise is rung up by an employee and subsequently voided out. The merchandise is then passed to a person at the counter, usually a friend or family member of the employee.

Other forms of employee theft that are discovered via the use of exceptions reports are discount and commission fraud. Discount fraud is the fraudulent use of an employee’s discount to reduce the price of merchandise for someone else. Generally this is done by an employee passing their discount card to a friend. Commission fraud is usually accomplished by ringing large return purchases back to another employee or recent ex-employee.

Merchandise theft is often investigated though the use of CCTV cameras and investigator observations. The items stolen by employees tend to be small items which either have a high dollar value or are edible. Stockrooms have a particularly high level of employee theft and are often investigated using CCTV. Loss prevention often tours stockrooms looking for “stashes”, out-of-place merchandise, and price tags. Typically a covert CCTV camera is placed in the areas of high opportunity for theft.

A recent trend with larger retailers is to actively pursue prosecution against employees who are embezzling. This is because employee embezzlement cases usually carry a far higher case value than do shoplifters, and, in most jurisdictions, embezzlement is codified as a felony offense. This can lead to lengthy investigations that may last for months. Still, particularly in small dollar cases, many retailers believe that they will never recover their losses; they often release employees suspected of embezzlement outright.
Credit card theft
Stolen credit cards find their way into retail stores as much as or more than online retail websites. This is usually for several reasons. Retailers have generally relaxed their procedures for checking credit cards, to shorten customers’ time spent at the cash register. Also, purchasing merchandise first-hand afford a credit card thief some anonymity, as opposed to providing a mailing address for an online sale.

Credit card theft is generally investigated by loss prevention personnel who receive a tip from a local police investigator investigating a stolen card. Typically the use of a stolen card can be easily found using the store’s electronic log, which will specify the register at which the stolen card was used. Sometimes CCTV video of the transaction exists and can be used by the police to establish a suspect or close a case. Today, most retailers are not liable for the use of stolen cards, unless they have chosen to override the chip and PIN and accept a customer’s signature when they could have accepted a PIN. However, retailers today frequently establish their own credit institutions and issue their own in-store only credit cards. In-store credit fraud is likely to become an increasing problem for loss prevention investigators in the next decade.

Some of the inherent problems with in-store credit lie in proper employee training. Temporary cards are regularly given out to customers who forget to bring in their own card. Mail fraud may also be used to intercept cards, and the use of these cards may go unnoticed for days if a clerk fails to check ID or if the true card holder never calls in a complaint. Also, in the opinion of some experts [citation needed], many retailers make adding a new name to an existing account far too easy.
Check / Cheque fraud
Check fraud is generally accomplished in one of two ways. The first is by writing a check that is manufactured to look like a real document, which in fact has no real value or no real bank account to back it up. Typically this is done by suspects who are experienced in forgery. The second method is check kiting, in which the suspect writes a check for a high dollar purchase, then withdraws the funds from the account before the check clears. Check kiting is usually done when suspects establish a fraudulent bank account under a false name.

Retailers reserve the right to reject a check for any reason. Most low-level store employees have no experience in detecting forgery and check kiting, and thus these stores are very prone to be the target of such fraud. Typically when checks are rejected by store management, the suspect raises the issue with the manager, in hopes that they will pass the check. Commonly those who create fraudulent checks hire minorities to make their purchases. When a check is rejected, a common scare tactic to get the retailer to accept the check is to claim racial bias.

Sometimes an experienced investigator can detect obvious forgery by examining the check or by calling the bank to verify that the account actually exists. When a false check is passed, investigators can sometimes salvage it by taking it to the bank before the suspect has the opportunity to withdraw the funds. Typically check fraud is done by a large group of non-local individuals who travel from state to state. Purchases are usually made in the late afternoon right as banks are closing. When an account actually exists, fraudulent or not, the suspects are usually able to withdraw the funds before the retail store can detect the fraud.
Safety and loss claims
Over the past decade, most large retailers have begun incorporating safety programs into their loss prevention programs. One or just a few workman’s compensation or general loss claims can cost a store as much in lost profit as shoplifting. Retailers are beginning to take a harder stance towards negligent violations of safety protocol by employees. Often the outcome of an investigation of an employee’s unsafe actions can result in their termination from employment. Some loss prevention programs consider employee safety investigations the same as internal theft cases. Increasingly, loss prevention managers are being held accountable for reducing both workman’s compensation and general loss claims as part of their performance review.

Among the industry leaders in loss prevention safety programs is Sears, which includes safety audits, safety committees, safety certifications, and thorough safety investigations into their loss prevention programs.
Margin Loss and Sweethearting
Retail Loss Prevention departments are becoming increasingly more involved in investigating losses which affect the margin of products and services. Typical areas of investigation include the overriding of PLU prices, price matching from competitors, and reduction of service fees such as delivery or protection agreements. While unintentional margin loss is reduced by educating employees and managers, the term for intentional margin loss is “sweethearting.” Sweethearting generally occurs when an employee promises a deal to a customer in order to close a sale, or otherwise reduces the price of merchandise for dishonest reasons. Sweethearting investigations involve research into employees’ finding competitor price matches to give to customers; overriding prices for their customers, friends, and themselves; and markdown of fees such as delivery and protection agreements.
Attempts to professionalize loss prevention
Many retailers have established centralized command structures in an attempt to control loss prevention. Typically the centralized command structure consists of the a floor or low-level investigator who is paid as an hourly employee. Next is the Loss Prevention Manager who is in charge of the loss prevention department at the store level. Generally the Loss Prevention Manager has been in the industry for a significant period of time and is salaried. The District Loss Prevention Manager is the next level, in charge of overseeing the operations of several stores within a geographic area. Generally the District Manager has a college degree in combination with significant amount of loss prevention experience. Some retailers, such as the 99 Cent Only Store, have hourly district investigators with the authority to terminate or prosecute any store employee or manager with probable cause.

Various problems have plagued the loss prevention industry over the years. Loss prevention departments have been accused of favoritism towards investigators and in some cases even an employee who may be dishonest. Some investigators have been known to make up apprehensions or merchandise recoveries to advance themselves within the field. The most prevalent problem is known as “LP blacklisting”, in which a particular investigator would be barred from employment due to the tight-knit nature of the loss prevention industry. Recent attempts at professionalism within the industry have gone a long way to eliminate these issues.

Some retailers have gone so far as to change the name of their loss prevention departments to “Assets Protection.” AP departments usually include more aspects of the private security industry by using more visible means of deterrence, such as uniformed door guards. Some companies believe that the term “loss prevention” has a stigma attached to it and that “assets protection” sounds more politically correct. There has been a recent trend in the industry to move back to less restrictive means of reducing external loss, due to recent increases in shoplifting.
Problems with investigators
A common frustration among retail loss prevention professionals is the perception of being seen as a glorified form of security, often by the same retail executives who employ them. Both industries typically do use the same or similar equipment. Loss prevention professionals see themselves as being proactive, while the security industry is often reactive in nature. The line between security and loss prevention has become increasingly blurry with the recent advent of uniform door guards and preventive measures to control safety, shoplifting, and embezzlement.

Another problem facing retail loss prevention today is the wage associated with entry-level investigators. Investigators often find themselves in dangerous situations caused by retailers who do not provide sufficient training or the necessary equipment to deal with and leave investigators unable to react appropriately. The compensation scale for the front-line investigator has not changed since the mid 1990′s. Most investigators in the US are paid under ten dollars per hour making them feel under valued and less motivated. Budget reductions, that often take place due to the loss of profits, often target the in-house loss prevention departments, because they are seen as a support function that has no direct relation with sales. The result is the reduction of the manpower required to make detentions safely for both the shoplifter and the investigator. Sometimes investigators decide that the potential danger associated with the position is not worth it for near-minimal wage and thus quit, refuse to make arrests or, worse yet, act dishonestly.
Bag checks and false arrest
The legality of bag checks by retailers is often questioned. The reason for bag checks is simple: it’s cheap and it works. Most retailers use Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) to determine when a bag check should be conducted. EAS sensors are placed on high dollar items to deter shoplifting; however, items containing large amounts of metal have been known to set off EAS alarm towers.

Retailers can only legally search a customer’s bag without probable cause if the customer consents. Usually an investigator requests that the door personnel search a bag because a sensor set off an alarm tower, or because of what they or other employees have seen in the store. If store personnel use force to detain a customer to look in their bag, it may become a false arrest. In some instances, refusal by a customer to consent to a bag search will result in the customer being “trespassed” (asked to leave and warned not to return under penalty of criminal trespass prosecution) or losing their membership from a store.
Felonies, misdemeanors, and local laws
Laws pertaining to shoplifting vary from state to state. Generally most state laws include an exclusion of limited liability for retailers to conduct searches of persons they believe to be shoplifting. Simply put, retailers are allowed by law to detain and question shoplifting suspects for a reasonable amount of time for the purpose of recovery of merchandise, provided that they have reasonable grounds to suspect the person. However, these laws generally do not apply to incidents of false arrest and excessive force.

Laws vary from state to state pertaining to when a shoplifter can be stopped and apprehended. In Arizona, concealment of merchandise is considered a crime and a shoplifter can be stopped as soon as concealment is established. In states like California, concealment is not a crime and a suspect must exit the store before an arrest can be made.

Some state laws can lead to unusual and severe charges being brought against a shoplifter. In Arizona, a shoplifter can actually be charged with felony third-degree burglary. In California, a person can be charged with attempted robbery if they use physical force while attempting to shoplift. In some jurisdictions a person convicted of shoplifting multiple times may face a felony sentence following conviction.

Most retailers follow a generalized corporate guideline which serves as a national blanket policy for the arrest of shoplifters, although some smaller retailers still decide their own policies on a store-to-store basis. Generally these policies state that a shoplifter can only be stopped and arrested after they leave the store. Some retailers like Macy’s and Wal-Mart have been known to use local laws pertaining to shoplifting to their advantage.

In most states, shoplifting is only considered a felony when merchandise in excess of $250 is stolen. Some states classify shoplifting as a felony offense regardless of price. In some states the dollar amount for shoplifting to be considered a felony is $2,500. Most felony shoplifting suspects, however, are only charged with misdemeanors by police, in order to process them through the criminal justice system more efficiently. Many misdemeanor shoplifters are released by loss prevention investigators after the recovery of the merchandise. Generally these shoplifting suspects are not charged with any crime and are trespassed by store management.

One common example of false arrest is the detainment of an individual based only on speculation of concealment and not an eyewitness to the act. False arrests can be costly to companies and often result in lawsuits or large monetary settlements. Settlements are preferred by companies wishing to avoid the negative publicity of court cases. Some jurisdictions render partial immunity to merchants and their employees from being liable for a false arrest as long as they have probable cause to detain.
Equipment, tactics, and technology

CCTV camera systems
CCTV is an abbreviation for Closed Circuit Television. CCTV camera systems are common to almost all loss prevention departments. The obvious benefits of CCTV camera is that the investigator can gain a better view of a suspect, record incidents, and not reveal themselves to shoplifting suspects. Some retailers use two-man teams in which one person uses the CCTV camera system to detect shoplifters and a floor man follows the suspect and apprehends them.

CCTV camera systems have been drastically modernized in the last decade. Most systems now record digitally as opposed to using videotapes. Many systems now include a computer server that contain video for months at a time. One drawback of many of these digital recorders is their inability to move and view more than one fixed area of the store. However, new digital cameras overlooking registers have greatly increased the number of internal cash thefts being resolved.

CCTV is one of the most effective tools ever used, not just by loss prevention, but the security industry in general. Firms which offer leases on such systems have brought costs down to a point where the franchise owner can consider it economically justifiable. A quality CCTV system, including a video recorder and monitors (at least one of which is visible to the public), is a proven deterrent with many related benefits, including protection from employee theft. A well-advertised visible system also acts as a holdup deterrent, and, when thefts do occur, prosecution is simplified.
Covert CCTV cameras
Covert CCTV cameras are a fairly recent innovation within the loss prevention industry. These cameras are small and compact and can be easily moved from area to area. Covert cameras can be easily made to look like fixtures or boxes in a stockroom. Most covert cameras are undetectable by the average employee.
Fake cameras
Some retailers use fake (or “dummy”) cameras in parts of their store, the rational is that the fake camera will cost less, but make the shoplifter too nervous to steal anything in front of it.
Electronic Article Surveillance
A tag used for EASElectronic article surveillance (EAS) is a deterrence system used by retailers to deter shoplifting. EAS involves the use of electronic security towers and electronic security tags. Hard tags or Sticker tags are placed on items throughout the store and are disabled at cashier by either removing the hard tag using a detacher or by scanning label tags over a magnetized strip or label deactivator. If the tag is not disabled it will activate the alarm tower, which is generally located at the exit to a retail store. EAS tags & labels are extremely effective in deterring amateur shoplifting, but most professionals require a combination of hard tags, labels, and ink tags to keep them in check. Even with the most elaborate anti-shoplifting systems some goods will be lost; this is possible with booster bags or simply a “grab and run”.
Serial numbers
Serial numbers are now being commonly placed on high-value merchandise. If loss prevention departments record the serial numbers, they can subsequently track stolen merchandise recovered by the police. Recording serial numbers is usually only done by larger retailers, due to the fact that they have district investigators who investigate organized shoplifting over a certain geographic area.
Electronic journals
Almost every large retail institution has some form of electronic journal which records all its transactions. Information such as credit card numbers, gift card numbers, refunds, and merchandise voids is gathered at the point-of-sale. These journals can then be used to view and print facsimiles of receipts or checks.
Cash office audits
A cash office audit is usually conducted by a common retail employee who counts up the cash from transactions at the retailer’s registers. A shortage occurs when the dollar amount contained in the register does not match what the cash audit says it should have. Shortages are used to begin and close cash embezzlement cases that are investigated by loss prevention departments. Cash office audits include information pertaining to which employees used a particular register during the day. This information is used by loss prevention investigators to narrow the field of suspected employees.
Two-way radio sets
Almost all loss prevention departments have some form of two-way radio communication. This technology is used by investigators to help two-man teams follow a shoplifting suspect in conjunction with the CCTV camera system or to summon assistance when apprehending a shoplifter.
Point of Sale
Main article: Point of Sale
Point of sale is a form of electronic journal that allows the loss prevention investigator to see a transaction as it is occurring live. This system is either displayed on a computer screen or on a monitor linked to the CCTV camera system. This system has assisted investigators in closing employee embezzlement cases pertaining to merchandise passing, merchandise voiding, and discount fraud.
Exception reports
Exception reports are compiled on an annual basis into a report. Usually the reports are received monthly or bi-weekly. They include information on cash audit overs and shorts, no-sales, flagged returns, employees ringing themselves up, fake employee numbers used to avoid commission docking, excessive markdowns and/or discounts, and merchandise voids. Exception reports have dramatically reduced the amount of time an investigator needs to detect a possible sign of employee embezzlement.
Ink tags
Ink tags have been around for several decades and are most commonly used by clothing retailers. Special equipment is required to remove the tags from the clothing. When the tags are forcibly removed, one or two glass vials containing permanent ink will break, causing it to spill over the clothing, effectively destroying it. Ink tags fall into the loss prevention category called benefit denial. As the name suggests, an ink tag denies the shoplifter any benefit for his or her efforts. Despite this, shoplifters have found ways around them, such as duct-taping the holes through which the ink comes out and then removing the tag with pliers, resulting in little to no damage of the merchandise. This however isn’t possible with all ink tags as the holes may not be visible. Ink tags are most effective if used together with an anti-shoplifting system so that the shoplifter can’t take the product home and leisurely try and remove the ink tag.

Another issue with ink tags is that a determined shoplifter may steal more than one of an item in order to be able to practice removing the ink tag.
Dual Resonator EAS stickers
Dual Resonator EAS stickers are usually placed on small items such as shaving razors and cold medicines. These items are popular items to sell at swap meets. Dual Resonator EAS stickers are printed on thin paper and are difficult to remove. Usually the sticker includes a retailer’s company logo and serves as an indication to would-be buyers that the merchandise has been stolen.
Dummy domes
Dummy domes have become prevalent in all forms of retail loss prevention. Dummy domes do not contain cameras, although they are identical to those that do. Dummy domes can be strategically placed to herd shoplifters into a particular location or can be used as a deterrent to shoplifting.
Ceiling mirrors
Ceiling mirrors were once a staple of the loss prevention industry. Now, for the most part, they have been relegated to convenience stores. Mirrors allow loss prevention investigators to watch activity in a high-theft area without being seen. Some loss prevention departments have been known to use mirrors to increase the range of their camera systems.
Refund checks
Refund checks are aimed at possible fraudulent and high-risk refunds. The customer is told they will receive a check in the mail instead of receiving cash or store credit during the actual return. This tactic is typically employed in instances where a customer does not have a receipt or there is prior knowledge that the return may be questionable. Generally a loss prevention manager or operations manager will have to approve the release of a refund check. This tactic works well because fraudulent refunders usually will not call the store to complain when they do not receive their check in the mail.
Bottom of Basket
Bottom of Basket loss (BOB), occurs when an item is placed on the lower tray of a shopping cart and the cashier forgets to check the lower tray for items, resulting in the item not being paid for. What makes this form of shrink unique is that it may happen intentionally or unintentionally. All estimates for the dollar amount lost in this manner are over $2 billion US per year in North America alone, or $7 per checkout lane per day. There are a few products on the market to help prevent this loss. The most common are mirrors mounted across the checkout lane. Some stores have camera systems pointed at the lower tray with monitors for each cashier. Neither of these systems work effectively because the problem is not visibility, but the inattentive cashier.

A newer type of system actively monitors the checkout lane and alerts when an item is detected on the lower tray of the shopping cart. The alarm will trigger when anything is on the lower tray including products, bags, or coats, but uses technology to distinguish the difference between a shopping cart and a person or bag passing through the lane, in order to accurately activate and begin scanning for items. Some systems have more false alarms than others. Some use robotic vision technology to identify items and are integrated with the POS, so that the items do not go out the door unless they are paid for.
Consent searches
Consent searches are widely used in law enforcement and are still present in loss prevention today. By asking a customer to consent to a search of their belongings, such as shopping bags and receipts, any illegal search or seizure requirements can be circumvented. Consent searches in some instances can be used to build on previously existing facts to establish the probable cause necessary to detain a shoplifter. The extreme end of establishing probable cause through a consent search has been eliminated except with a few smaller companies who still utilize it.

In modern retail loss prevention, consent searches are most often used by warehouse retailers such as Costco and Sam’s Club. The warehouse retailers have made consent searches of their customers’ purchases a part of the membership agreement. Although a customer may refuse to consent to a search of their purchase from a legal standpoint, the warehouse retailer does retain the right as a private business entity to strip the customer of their membership or issue a verbal trespass. Warehouse retailers have been able to utilize consent searches to lower their prices on goods and reduce external shrinkage at the same time.
Viewing towers
Although the necessity of viewing towers has been largely eliminated by CCTV camera systems, they still exist today. A tower is usually a centrally located observation platform raised above the sales floor. An investigator can spend time in the tower with searching for shoplifters or investigating employees, much in the same manner as with CCTV.
Integrity shops
A common example of an integrity shop is marking a large-denomination bill and placing it in a cashier’s drawer. The goal is to see if the bill disappears from the drawer or doesn’t reach its appropriate destination, such as a cash office. The information gained from an integrity shop can be used to initiate investigations or conduct interviews that could possibly reveal dishonest activity or outright theft. This is also a good way to find out if an employee is attempting to embezzle.
See also
Package pilferage
Tamper resistance
Store detective

Hayes, R., “Retail Security and Loss Prevention”, Butterworth-Heinemann, Stoneham, MA,1991, ISBN:0570690380
Hayes, R., “Shoplifting Control”, Prevention Press, Orlando, FL, 1993.
Hayes, R., “Employee Theft Control.” Prevention Press, Orlando, FL, 1993.
Hayes, R. “Retail Security and Loss Prevention, 2nd Edition”. London, Macmillan, 2007.
Horan, D.J., “The Retailer’s Guide to Loss Prevention and Security”, 1996, ISBN:084938110X
Kimieckik, R., C., “Loss Prevention Guide for Retail Businesses”, 1995, ISBN:0471076368
Thomas, C., “Loss Prevention in the Retail Business”, 2005, ISBN:0471723215

Hayes. “Retail Crime Control: a new operational strategy.” Security Journal 8, 3 (1997) pp 225-232.

2. Read Hayes. “Crime and Loss Control Training: U. S. Retailers’ Response to Rising Theft, Competition and Risk.” International Journal of Risk, Security and Crime Prevention 2 (4) (1997) 267-278.

3. Read Hayes. “Retail Theft: An Analysis of Apprehended Shoplifters.” Security Journal 7 (1) (1997) pp 11-14.

4. Read Hayes. “Shop Theft: An Analysis of Shoplifter Perceptions and Situational Factors.” Security Journal 12 (2) (1999 ) pp 7–118.

5. Read Hayes. “Retail Store Detectives: An Analysis of their Focus, Selection, Training, and Performance Ratings.” Security Journal 31 (1) (2000) pp 7-20.

6. Read Hayes “Loss Prevention: Senior Management Views on Current Trends and Issues.” Security Journal, 2003 16, _,7-20.

7. Tracy Johns and Read Hayes. “Behind the Fence: Buying and Selling Stolen Merchandise.” Security Journal, 2003 16, 4, 29-44.

8. Read Hayes. “Predicting the Job Performance of Store Detectives.” Security Journal, 17, 4, 7-20.

9. Mike Scicchitano, Tracy Johns, Read Hayes and Robert Blackwood. “Peer Reporting to Control Employee Theft.” Security Journal, 2004, 17, 2, 7–19.

10. Read Hayes. “Store Detectives: Job Analysis and Workplace Performance.” Security Journal, 2004, 17, 3, 10–21.

11. Read Hayes. “Effective Loss Prevention Means Protecting Lives, Selling More and Losing Less.” Security Journal, 2006, 19, 4, 211-215.

12. Read Hayes and Robert Blackwood. “Evaluating the Effects of EAS on Product Sales and Loss: Results of a Large-Scale Field Experiment.” Security Journal, 2006, 19, 4, 262-276.

13. Read Hayes. “Focused Asset Protection.” Security Journal, 2007, 20, 1, TBA.

1. Read Hayes. “Loss Prevention: Senior Management Views on Current Trends and Issues,” Chapter 2 in Managing Security, Martin Gill (ed.), Leicester, England: Perpetuity Press, 2004.

2. Read Hayes and Caroline Cardone. “Shoptheft,” Chapter in The Handbook of Security, Martin Gill (ed.), Leicester, England: Macmillan, 2006.

3. Read Hayes. “Store Detectives,” Chapter in The Handbook of Security, Martin Gill (ed.), Leicester, England: Macmillan, 2006.

1. Barton Weitz, Richard C. Hollinger, and Read Hayes. National Retail Security Survey — 1991: Executive Summary, Des Plaines, Illinois: SECURITY Magazine, 1992.

2. Richard C. Hollinger and Read Hayes. 1992 National Retail Security Survey: Final Report (with Executive Summary), Gainesville, Florida: University of Florida, 1992.

3. Read Hayes. 1993 Retail Theft Trends Report, (with Executive Summary), Orlando, Florida: Prevention Press, 1993

4. Richard C. Hollinger, Dean A. Dabney, and Read Hayes National Shopping Center Security Report, Chain Store Age Executive Magazine, May 1993, pp. 83-114.

5. Read Hayes. 1994 Retail Theft Trends Report, (with Executive Summary), Orlando, Florida: Prevention Press, 1994.

6. Read Hayes. 1995 Retail Theft Trends Report, (with Executive Summary), Orlando, Florida: Prevention Press, 1995.

7. Richard C. Hollinger, Dean Dabney, Gang Lee and Read Hayes 1996 National Retail Security Survey: Final Report, (with Executive Summary), Gainesville, Florida: University of Florida, 1996.

8. Read Hayes. 1996 Retail Theft Trends Report, (with Executive Summary), Orlando, Florida: Prevention Press, 1996.

9. Richard C. Hollinger (with Dean Dabney, Gang Lee and Read Hayes) 1997 National Retail Security Survey: Final Report, (with Executive Summary), Gainesville, Florida: University of Florida, 1997.

10. Read Hayes. 1997 Retail Theft Trends Report, (with Executive Summary), Orlando, Florida: Prevention Press, 1997.

11. Richard C. Hollinger (with Gang Lee, John L. Kane and Read Hayes) 1998 National Retail Security Survey: Final Report, (with Executive Summary), Gainesville, Florida: University of Florida, 1998.

12. Read Hayes. 1998 Retail Theft Trends Report, (with Executive Summary), Orlando, Florida: Prevention Press, 1998.

13. Martin Gill, Tony Burns-Howell, Martin Hemming, Jerry Hart, Read Hayes, Andi Wright and Ron Clarke. The Illicit Market in Stolen Fast-Moving Consumer Goods: A Global Impact Study, Leicester, UK: Perpetuity Press, 2004

14. Helena Moussatche, Read Hayes, Richard Schneider, Robert McLeod, Philip Abbott and Martha Kohen. Retailing Best Practices: Reducing Loss through Store Design and Layout, Gainesville, Florida: University of Florida, 2004.

15. Read Hayes. Alternative Source Vendors: Retailers, Diverters and Stolen Goods, Winter Park, Florida: Loss Prevention Research Council, 2004.


1. Read Hayes and King Rogers. Organized Retail Crime: Describing a Major Problem. Submitted to the Grocery Manufacturers Association in September 2003. .by wikipedia - a Miami Security Company for Miami Retail Security and Miami Security Services. Security guard Services in miami , Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, Miami Beach, Homestead, West Palm beach, South Beach and South Florida.

Miami Private Security guards Services

Private Security Guards ( posted in Miami Florida)

Miami Private security guards, also known as security officers, have become increasingly important in Miami and our society, and the security guard industry is one of the fastest growing in Miami Florida and the country. Miami Security guards protect their employer’s investment, enforce rules and laws on the property, and deter criminal activity or other problems.  

There are three things to consider when hiring Miami security guards or security guard services: 1) what needs to be protected, 2) what level of protection is desired, and 3) who is going to do the protecting.

1) The first step is to determine what needs to be protected and what the security guard’s responsibilities will include. Security guards can be posted at stationary locations for security guard services, to control entrances and check people entering and leaving the property, control crowds, give directions, accept packages, and discourage misbehavior. Guards also patrol and inspect property to protect against fire, theft, vandalism, and illegal activity.

2) Security guards can be armed or unarmed, in uniform or plain clothes, posted on the property or thousands of miles away viewing video cameras that are part of an interactive system. What is the level of security needed and what is the budget required to achieve that level of security ?

3) When it comes to hiring Miami security guards, it doesn’t matter whether the security guards are employed by a security guard agency or hired directly by the end user; interviewing is essential in order to find the right security guard person for the position. The advantage of using a security guard service is that the security guard company is bonded, background checks have already been made, a certain amount of training has been completed, and the guard can be terminated easily since he works for the agency. The advantage to directly hiring the security guard is greater control over hours, appearance, behavior and in many cases, lower overall costs.

Miami Protection .com - a Security company in miami providing Miami Security Guards, Miami Security Services, Miami body Guards , Miami Florida Security and Executive Protection in miami

Outsourcing Security Guards Miami

Security guards

Security guards are of paramount importance to the physical security of your employees, events and facilities. Security guards need to be included in the overall protective blanket of the organization. Even when security guards are outsourced, they need to be an integral component of your security plan and not considered separate function.Once you have decided your organizational needs for short or long term security guard(s), the complexity of your security requirements that the security guards will fulfill will need to be defined. Are the security guards required for a special event or an addition to your ongoing physical security plans? The target of this guide is to provide knowledge to help you decide about what needs to be considered when hiring security guards.

 If your security requirements are very complex then an assessment by onsite security professional is recommended. You may want to consider hiring an external security consultant to help you write and review the request for proposal (RFP) you will send to security guard contractors. When hiring an outside security consultant to help with the proposal make sure they do not have ties to any security guard staffing agencies so you can get unbiased third party assistance.Will you only need security guards for short term work or special events?

The first decision to make is - do you require security guards for the short term or long term? Long term guards need to be deeply integrated into your security plan and be part of the security team. Short term guards are needed for special events and times of heightened security. Hiring short term guards usually means they are required for a particular function and that function needs to be defined and communicated perfectly to your short terms guards and the security guard agency.

For more about “Short Term Outsourced Security Guards”, click here.

Interactions with Outsourced Security Guards

It is important to remember that the guard has two major functions: first is to be present to deter and detect unusual or suspicious activity and second to safeguard property and people. How a security guard interacts with your organization is an indicator how that security guard will follow policy and how members of your organization will respect the function of the security guards.For more about “Interacting with Outsourced Security Guards”, click here.

Criteria for Security Contractor Selection

As soon as the need for a security firm has been determined on an immediate or long term basis, a security contractor needs to be selected. Make sure you select a company that has valid license. You should be certain that a company is reliable and in good standing.All of the following criteria should be reviewed:

  • Adequate Insurance
  • Reputation
  • Verifiable References
  • Experience and Management
  • Training and Qualifications
  • Staffing
  • Documentation
  • Equipment Issues
  • Clear Proposal
  • Costs
  • Contract

Deciding What Kind of Security Guard Should Be Hired

Hiring security guards is serious business and should not to be taken lightly. Various types of security guards are appropriate for different situations. One important issue is whether you would like security at your site to be provided by a uniformed or plainclothes guard.

  • The main goal for hiring a uniformed security guard is deterrence.
  • The main goal for hiring a plainclothes security guard is apprehension.

After deciding what kind of security guard to hire, you must determine whether the security guard should be armed or unarmed. There are many costs and benefits to be considered when choosing an armed versus unarmed security guards.

Unarmed Security Guards
Majority of outsourced guards deployed are unarmed guards. Most situations unarmed guards are effective. When selecting unarmed guards consider:

  • Use of deadly force is neither desired nor required.
  • Unarmed security guards often provide the same deterrent as armed guards without the risk of deadly force.
  • The protection afforded by unarmed guards is less expensive and may incur less liability and insurance.

Armed Security Guards
It is important to determine if hiring armed security guards meets your expectations for security. When selecting armed guards consider:

  • Realize that armed guards may utilize deadly force.
  • Review the training qualifications the security guards have with firearms.
  • Review the contractor’s policy on the use of weapons with regard to deadly force.
  • Verifying reference and making sure the reputation is a degree higher when hiring armed security guards.

Consider the cost effectiveness of an armed guard. They are much more expensive than unarmed security, due to licensing and training requirements. Decide whether the presence of a weapon may escalate the possible use of force and violence which otherwise may not occur. Insurance may be adversely affected by the presence of an armed guard. An ineffectively deployed armed guard can pose additional risk to staff. Deploying armed guards should not be taken lightly but may be your only option if what you are protecting or the area that needs protection required arm deterrents.


Outsourcing security guards needs to be carefully decided. When hiring short term security guards, the plan needs to be detailed and perfectly communicated to the short term guards and your organization’s staff. Security guards need to follow policy to the letter and any deviation from the policy needs to be cleared with the guards’ liaison. Security guards should not be chastised for following the policy to the letter. Deciding if the security guards should be armed or unarmed is a very important decision that can have noticable ripple effects and sets a tone on the security posture of your organization.When selecting security guards, nothing replaces experience and a great reputation. by Ryan Groom -

Security guard services, body guards, special event security, retail security, cctv security cameras, residential security guards and patrol services provided in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, Miami Dade, Miami Beach, Weston, Pembroke Pines, South Beach, Doral Florida, Medley, Miami lakes, Miami Springs, West Palm Beach, Miramar, North Miami, Hialeah, Homestead, Boca Raton, Plantation, Pinecrest and south Florida

The Outsourcing of Security Guard Services

Security Guard Services - CCTV Security Cameras 

Who is in your building? Do you know? And most importantly, do you care?

If you answered ‘no’ to either of those last two questions, you could be in for a rude awaking. In today’s environment more and more building owners and managers are outsourcing their basic services to third party providers; the most common are security services, janitorial and landscaping functions.  The reason for this is economics, plain and simple. The fact is, it’s far less expensive for a building owner or management company, condo, co-op or gated community to use outsourced workers than to hire full-time, in-house security, janitorial, and landscaping staff.

It’s also a fact that in most cases, the lowest bidder wins the contract—but just what are you getting for that low bid?  Are the people hired to secure your association or building the best qualified and the best trained? Is the company you’ve hired fully licensed and insured? Not knowing the answers to questions such as these is like driving without a seatbelt. Here are some of the questions that you should be asking any vendor that you plan to do business with — particularly if the vendor is going to have a major presence at your facility or on your property.  

• Do you screen your employees and subcontractors?

• Are you licensed?

• Are you insured? What are the limits of your policy?

• Will you name my company as an additional named insured?

• Do you carry worker’s compensation insurance?  

Many of these questions are traditional business questions; however, how a company screens their employees is not. Not all screening methods are created equal. It’s important to know whether your prospective security guard company is doing full background checks, or only checking where the applicant tells them they lived. Does the company confirm that the person is who they say they are? Do they use database searches, statewide searches or county searches, or check to see if their employees and applicants are on a sexual offenders list? Does the company validate previous employers and experience?

Many employee screening firms offer a variety of services and packages, so it’s sometimes a challenge to determine exactly what types of searches and background checks are appropriate. For example, most people think a Statewide Criminal Search is the best, most thorough way to screen a prospective security employee. Some states do not offer a statewide search, however—and most statewide searches do not include all of the counties within the state. Other states only provide Department of Corrections records, which does not reveal all convicted felons—only those who have ever been incarcerated.

According to Michael Pachuta, president of Credential Check Corporation in Troy, Michigan, many hiring companies who run pre-employment screens on applicants aren’t aware of all the searches that are available, or that their screening company may not be offering the best available search. Sometimes it is a matter of cost, but the typical screening is only around $50 per applicant. Running the right background check on an applicant can help avoid situations like this one, taken from the Michigan’s Lansing State Journal:

“Charles Byam Jr. wasn’t necessarily the guy you’d want handling your money.

His rap sheet includes larceny in a building and attempted embezzlement in 1990 and misuse of a financial transaction device - using someone else’s credit card number to buy airline tickets in 1996.

But the…company put him in charge of handling payments for water permits.

Not such a good move, as it turned out. Earlier this year, Byam pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $180,000 by essentially getting businesses to write checks that he could divert to his own bank account…Byam asked customers to write checks to him rather than the company, and would then submit false invoices.

A spokesman said the company didn’t know Byam was a convicted felon with a taste for taking other people’s money when they hired him in March of 2000. He didn’t disclose that on his employment application, and the department didn’t do any criminal background checks.

He was fired for falsifying his job application by failing to disclose his criminal history. He is now serving a two- to 10-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to three counts of embezzling more than $20,000.”

You may be satisfied with the way your HOA’s security provider does their background investigations, but it’s still important to be aware and ask questions regularly. Are they drug screening each and every employee that they hire? Do they have a random drug screen policy? What about screening for cause—post-incident and/or accident?

These are also important questions that should be asked during the bidding process—not after a company is selected.  Not all service providers are doing all of the above-mentioned things. Doing a thorough screening of prospective service providers can help lower your general liability policy. According to Chris Robichaud of Szerlip & Company, an insurance provider for the service industry, these issues are addressed by underwriters because sound, thorough screening tends to limit the exposure that a carrier has to potential loss. The factor — the base for computing a insurance rate—is adjusted upward or downward, depending on the type of screening a hired security company is providing.

Gary Bradley of Bradley & Gmelich in Los Angeles represents a number of security providers.  He says the courts are holding employers to higher standards because there are so many ways to conduct pre-employment screening. Both the number of negligence suits and the amount of damages involved are increasing, and courts are toughening their definition of reasonable care. This is expected to intensify as available cctv security systems become more sophisticated.

Juries are holding employers to higher and higher standards when it comes to negligent hiring. Many companies are being sued—and found guilty of negligence—for hiring individuals that present a danger to others. Many of these companies are required to pay for damages that are in the millions of dollars. The average cost for an out-of-court settlement of a negligent hiring lawsuit is approximately $170,000.

To avoid these costs—and the human cost they represent—your association’s best defense is to ask questions. Look at the big picture, and don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions. Your company and you community will be better off for it in the long run.

Brian Dooley has been in the security guard industry for over 30 years and is the founder of security consulting firm Brian T. Dooley & Associates. By Brian T. Dooley CPP

Shoplifter Tries To Stab Store Security Guard


ORANGE PARK, Fla. — A shoplifting incident Thursday evening at Orange Park Mall became an armed robbery when one of the suspects pulled a knife and tried to stab a security guard, according to the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies said a man and woman who attempted take a shopping cart with about $1,000 in merchandise out of the Sears store about 7:45 p.m. without paying. When they were confronted by a store loss-prevention officer, the man allegedly pulled a knife and attempted to stab the officer. They then ran out of the mall and sped off in a white Chevrolet pickup truck.Deputies pursued the pickup into Jacksonville, but broke off the chase for safety reasons. They later learned the vehicle was reported stolen. It was found abandoned Friday morning.

Clay County officials told Channel 4′s Dan Leveton that these two are a threat to the community.

“He was so violent, by coming back and brandishing a knife,” CCSO Sgt. Joey Jett said. “It was apparent they would do anything in attempt to get away with this merchandise.”

If and when caught, the pair faces charges of armed robbery, assault, grand theft and fleeing police.

Detectives working the case released surveillance photos of the man and woman and hope that someone recognizes them.

Anyone with any information that could help detectives is asked to call Detective Ken West at 904-213-6760.

Miami Mobile Patrol Services

Miami Mobile Patrols

Our Miami Security Company provides Mobile Patrols, patrolling services, patrol service, residential patrol, community patrol and security guard services in south Florida.

A visit to your premises by a trained mobile patrol driver or a mobile patrol security guard officer is a useful alternative to the presence of a static guard or a stationary security guard.

All visits to your business premises or to your corporate office or residential community may be computer recorded and are arranged to be at irregular times so as not to create a noticeable pattern that could otherwise be exploited by a criminal element.

Our trained licensed security guards, uniformed mobile patrols and patrolling services create a high profile presence. Our patrol services and mobile patrols serve not only as a deterrent to vandals also are extremely helpful in the early detection of crime vandalism or any potential problems.

Mobile Patrol Miami - Mobile Patrolling

Our Miami mobile patrol service can be extended to a fully scheduled lock and unlock service. Our miami Security Company and security guards provide lock up services includes switching off any unnecessary electrical equipment, locking doors, checking and securing doors and windows, checking fire equipment, monitoring fire exits, unlocking doors, locking doors, activating alarms or simply to provide a patrol and security presence at your office, residential community, home, residences, gated community, shopping mall, retail store, corporate offices, condominium or business premises. Our patrol service can patrol residential community, homes, businesses and more. Patrol residential communities or a business with our Miami patrol service.

Our Miami Security company is dedicated the quality of security services and patrol service in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Miami Lakes, Hialeah, Kendall, Hallandale Beach, Lauderhill, Hollywood Beach, Weston, Doral Florida, Medley, Miami-Dade,  Pembroke Pines, Weston, Miramar, West Palm Beach, North Miami, Broward County, Key Biscayne, Miami Beach and south Florida - it is our security guard companies goal to be recognised as Miamis leading security guard provider among all other patrol service providers, contractors and security guard companies in Miami Florida.

Call our security company today for patrol service in miami and mobile patrol service in south Florida.

Night vision security camera Miami

 Night Vision Security camera - CCTV Surveillance cameras ( posted in miami )

The hours we keep don’t always correlate with daylight hours. We find ourselves working after dark in order to get everything accomplished, at home or at work. Next time you find yourself out late, wouldn’t you feel safer knowing your office or home was equipped with a night vision security camera or cctv surveillance cameras ? A night vision security camera provides clear images no matter what kind of lighting conditions it’s placed in.

You can use a night vision security camera in any darkened area, such as a garage. How many times have your kids left the garage opened all day? Usually that’s harmless, but on occasion small animals or neighborhood pets can crawl into the garage. With a night vision camera, you can check out these darkened spaces and eliminate any unwanted surprises.

Easy to install and adapts to a variety of applications

A simple wireless surveillance system takes hardly any time at all to install. All you have to do is pick the proper angle of surveillance and plug the camera into the receiver, which then transmits a feed to your television or computer, depending on the camera you purchase and your personal preference. In less time than it takes to make a microwave dinner, you can set up a night vision security camera in your home or office.

There are different kinds of night vision camera because we all have different security needs. Think for a moment about what kind of security suits you best. Some cameras capture color images during the day and black and white images at night. Another kind of night vision security camera, such as the Low-Light Wireless NightWatch Camera from X10, captures only b/w images, which makes it ideal for any darkened area.

A night vision security camera pays back peace of mind

You may be asking yourself if a night vision security camera is worth the cost. The answer is a resounding “Yes!” You can purchase a wireless camera system that you use every day for a year for a cost that equals just a few dollars a week, if that. That’s right — just a few dollars a week. For the price of a magazine or a latte per week, you, your fellow coworkers, and/or your family can relax in knowing that all activity in any poorly lit area is being monitored.

Cost-effective, easy to install, and able to capture images indoors or out and in all kinds weather — what are you waiting for? Now is the time to consider purchasing your night vision security camera. Protect your home or office today. by

miami security cameras , miami night vision cameras , cctv surveillance miami

Convenience Store Security

 C-Store Robbery Prevention History

Convenience stores (c-stores) are unique commercial properties in that they are usually open 24-hours, are largely a cash-based business, can be operated by one clerk, and are conveniently located for quick in and out shopping. The nature of this business makes it very convenient for customers. Unfortunately, this business style also makes it an attractive target for robbers and other criminals. Since 1976, the convenience store industry has made major strides toward preventing and deterring robberies. Back then, those late night businesses were an obvious robbery target because they were the only game in town. However, the c-store business has evolved since the 70s and is now far more complex.

Store Design Changes

Modern convenience stores are sophisticated corporate designs that hardly resemble the mom and pop operations from which they evolved. In the 70s, c-stores were just beginning to operate 24-hours per day. Most stores were 2400 square feet in size or less and did not sell gasoline. Monthly average sales volume of $25,000 was considered outstanding that generated a daily bank deposit of maybe $700 in cash. Typical stores were located mid-block in high-density residential neighborhoods. Security consisted of a small floor safe, a manual cash register, an under counter hiding place (cigar box) for the change fund, and strategically placed anti-shoplifting convex mirrors.

Now, many other business types are operating 24-hours per day. Many large grocery stores are now operating 24-hours as well as restaurants, gas stations, and even home improvement centers. The convenience store business has definitely changed. Most convenience stores today are high volume corner locations that sell more gasoline than the major oil company outlets. Most food staples have been replaced with higher gross-profit snack items and fast food. C-stores now sell enormous amounts of lottery tickets, phone cards, and other specialty items that produce tremendous cash flow. When ATM machines began appearing in the early-80s, it created havoc with the store change fund because more customers started to pay with twenty-dollar bills. Stores all of a sudden need a huge change fund to make it through the day or a long holiday weekend. This new cash-flow trend created unanticipated security problems.

Early Security Tactics

Convenience store security, as it existed in the mid-1970s, was largely seen as a police problem. The more serious problems that affected these late-night businesses were crimes like armed robbery and assaults on customers and store employees. The most prevalent crimes were “beer runs” and shoplifting that plagued the inexperienced store operator and tended to generate the most calls for police assistance. There were no research or effective crime prevention programs at that time that focused on these security issues.

Most law enforcement agencies in the mid-1970s thought convenience stores were a nuisance. The police couldn’t understand why these small markets had to be open 24-hours a day and why they tried to operate with only one clerk on duty. Robbers were netting $300-500 per job and the word got out on the street that convenience stores were an easy and often lucrative target. Law enforcement didn’t know how to prevent convenience store crime other then by arresting the perpetrators. The problem became so acute, in some cities, that the police tried stakeouts, undercover graveyard clerks, and even backroom shotgun squads. All of these methods failed and caused horrific violence in a few cases.

Robbery Prevention Evolution

Initially, what evolved were new programs to help convenience stores identify the robbers and take them off the street. Black and white video cameras were becoming more affordable and were beginning to be installed into a few stores. Robberies dropped dramatically in those few stores as well as shortages due to employee theft. Simultaneously, a law enforcement entrepreneur developed a mechanized 35mm camera (Crime Eye) that was disguised into a speaker box that would activate during a robbery when “bait money” was pulled from a money clip that was installed inside the cash register. Both of these systems provided the police, for the first time, images of the robbers which aided in their arrest and clearance of hundreds of robberies. This new technology told us that a relatively small group was responsible for committing multiple robberies. The only problem was that these speaker box cameras stood out like a sore thumb and the cameras were often out of film at the critical time.

WBSI Crime Deterrence Study

In 1975, Western Behavioral Sciences Institute (WBSI) published a study on robbery deterrence. This groundbreaking study put together the basis for today’s robbery prevention programs across the country. This study set out to prove the theory that convenience store robbers used a selection process before choosing targets and therefore could be deterred by making a c-store less attractive to them. The study said, in part, that robbers considered escape routes, amount of money available, number of clerks on duty, and available witnesses before they would commit to the robbery. The study went on to say that nighttime lighting and visibility were important factors to make the robber fear being “on stage” during the commission of a robbery.

7-Eleven Robbery Prevention Program

As a result of the findings published in the WBSI study, an entire robbery prevention program was developed by Southland Corporation (7-Eleven Stores) and was implemented into approximately 6500 convenience stores nationwide beginning in 1976. Surprisingly, the store operators poorly received the initial launch of this crime prevention program and the results reflected their lack of enthusiasm.

by Chris E McGoey, CPP, CSP, CAM

Security Guards, convenience store security services, uniformed guards, CCTV security systems, remote surveillance monitoring, access control, video surveillance, security cameras, security officers, patrol services and store security services available in : Miami-Dade County, Broward County, Palm Beach County, Aventura , Bal Harbour , Bal Harbor, Boca Raton , Boynton Beach , Coconut Creek , Coconut Grove , Cooper city , Coral Gables , Coral Springs , Cutler Bay, Cutler Ridge , Dania, Davie , Deerfield Beach , Doral, Fort Lauderdale , Ft. Myers , Fort Pierce , Hallandale Beach , Hialeah, Hialeah Gardens, Hollywood Florida, Homestead , Islamorada , Kendall , Key Biscayne , Key Largo , Key West , Lake Worth , Lauderdale-by-the-Sea , Lauderhill , LeHigh Acres, Marathon key, Margate , Medley, Miami Beach , Miami Gardens, Miami Lakes , Miami Springs , Miramar , Naranja , North Bay Village , North Miami Beach , North Palm Beach , Opa Locka , South Florida , West Palm Beach , Pembroke Pines , Perrine , Pinecrest, Port Saint Lucie, South Miami , Miami Design District, Wynwood, Hialeah Gardens , South Beach , Sunny Isles Beach , Sunrise , Surfside , Broward Fl Tamarac , West Palm Beach , Weston , Wilton Manors, Tamarac, Tallahassee, Florida City, Arizona, Phoenix, Arkansas, California, LA, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose Hollywood, Colorado, Connecticut , Delaware, Washington DC, Florida: Daytona Beach, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Tampa, Georgia , Idaho, Illinois, Boston, Michigan, Detroit, Miami Florida,  Southfield, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, NV, Nevada, NH, New Hampshire, NJ, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, NY, NYC, New York City, Chicago, Indiana, Indianapolis, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, , NC, North Carolina, OH, OK, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, FT. Fort Worth, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin ,international, south America, Mexico, Costa Rica, Argentina, Bahamas, Venezuela , Miami Florida and US United States.