CEC says the program has proven to reduce apprehension time and expenses incurred by retailers by 50 to 80 percent. Mitchell said the company only works with retailers, as well as law enforcement and prosecutors to gain understanding and support from all stakeholders in the system. Given the huge budget constraints and issues like AB-109 realignment in California, support from the criminal justice system has been positive as the program is seen as a “force multiplier” for communities.
One of the benefits of having iPads in the hands of loss prevention officers is that enables them in a matter of 20 or 25 minutes to decide who should be turned over to the authorities or potentially qualify for this program. Mitchell said loss prevention personnel spend a significant amount of their time processing shoplifting suspects and waiting for police; this solution would give retailers the ability to have them back out working in the stores where they belong and are the most valuable.
“We’re able to integrate to their case management system and their apprehension databases. We also get all of their previous three, four or five years’ worth of data that they will send to us electronically and we’ll update our databases so we have all of their prior offenders as we’re trying to disposition these individuals,” Mitchell added. “For the retailer, if you end up detaining someone, hand-writing everything down, you’re waiting for the police and you’ve got a witness – you’re taking anywhere from two to three hours to get through that process whereas we’re processing the individual with our program in less than 25 minutes with the goal of getting the agents back on the floor. Today, we catch one out of every 46 shoplifters, which isn’t a very good batting average. Additionally, this does not preclude the retailer from pursuing civil recovery.”
Mitchell said the company, which recently showcased the program at the NRF Loss Prevention conference in San Diego, has thus far received positive reviews from people inside the industry.
“It has been very well adopted and supported and it makes a lot of sense because everyone wins; the retailer, the criminal justice system and the offender,” Mitchell said.