Educational programs are a good way to start. Informed store management and employees can become an effective first line of defense against shoplifting rings. In several cases, educated salespeople have smothered would-be shoplifters with so much attention that the gang left without stealing a thing. When floor employees know what to look for, they can be an important anti-theft tool.
By educating local law enforcement about the nature and extent of the problem, you can make requests for service at your store a higher priority. Once police are aware that allowing a shoplifter to escape can mean contributing to terrorist activities, they will be more eager to help. Exchange information with them so the security staff has a proper understanding of what they need in order to successfully prosecute organized theft rings. In other words, train them and let them train you.
Liz Mart'nez is an instructor at Interboro Institute in New York City, which offers a Security Management degree program. the author of The Retail Manager's Guide to Crime and Loss Prevention (2004, Looseleaf Law Publications). She can be reached through her Web site at www.RetailManagersGuide.com.