Solving the Challenges Facing Loss Prevention Operations

Part 1: A bleak look at issues of buy-in, corporate responsibility and LP goal models

While it is true that internal theft accounts for the greatest retail losses, it seems a bit foolish to tacitly encourage shoplifting by failing to do anything to prevent it.

LP managers who are desperate to make their numbers can always find a store employee to question about internal theft. They are often required to gain civil recovery for the amount the employee has taken.

While these actions are certainly important to a store's bottom line, corporations often expect the LP department to focus solely on this aspect of internal theft. They are given no budget or time to perform training or do other aspects of crime prevention. And when security does manage to work in a program aimed at prevention, they are punished for having their numbers drop, as though apprehension were the sole measure of security effectiveness.

The pressures of having to meet steadily increasing numbers mean that those in the LP department must work increasingly long hours. Burnout inevitably occurs. The end result is that many good LP professionals leave the field for less demanding positions.

So, that’s the situation we face in many LP operations today. As bleak as it may sound, there are companies who have overcome these problems, and whose solutions can be models to your own LP department. In the next column, scheduled for publication on June 13 on’s Retail/Loss Prevention Section, we will examine some solutions to the problems in LP.

What Challenges Are You Facing? Join into the discussion of challenges in LP operations in our Forums --> "Top Challenges in Loss Prevention" thread

About the author: Liz Martinez is the author of "The Retail Manager's Guide to Crime and Loss Prevention: Protecting Your Business from Theft, Fraud and Violence" (2004, Looseleaf Law), and is a retail security/loss prevention consultant and an instructor at Interboro Institute in New York City. Liz can be reached through her website at or via email at