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U.S. Retail Industry Suffered Loss of $35.28 billion to Internal and External Theft in 2011 According to National Retail Security Survey

Published by Ellen on November 29, 2012 9:56 AM

Results from the National Retail Security Survey showed that retail stores across America lost billions of dollars to employee theft, shoplifting, organized crime, and administrative blunders in 2011. The survey was conducted by the University of Florida.

What's most disconcerting about the survey is that almost half (44.2%) of retail shrinkage came from employee theft, while shoplifting and organized crime accounted for 25.8%. Organized crime, an insidious and almost impossible crime to anticipate, occurs when large groups of shoplifters raid a store and do what's called a "grab-and-run." In other words, large groups of individuals plan ahead of time to sprint into a particular store, steal as much merchandise as possible, and make a run for it. They often distract sales associates or make verbal or physical threats to management while their friends- or accomplices- cram as much merchandise as they can into their personal bags and baggy clothing.

Administrative oversights, or errors, led to 12.1% in losses. University of Florida Criminologist Dr. Richard Hollinger, who organized and conducted the survey, believes that security measures should be amplified around the holidays: "The holiday season is an important time for retailers to evaluate their security solutions, and the growing adoption and awareness of better loss prevention strategies has continued in the recent trend of reduced retail losses and improved profitability."

During the holiday season, retailers can strengthen their security efforts by investing in high-definition network surveillance cameras for deterring theft, and capturing thieves on video to provide as evidence to local law enforcement. High definition, megapixel security cameras will make recognition and identification possible, which in turn, can lead to a faster arrest.

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