Management – The Five Finger Discount
The Five Finger Discount
Support trained staff with physical theft deterrents.
Physical Deterrents the Next Line of Defence
- Staff training to reduce potential shoplifting must be supported with physical theft deterrents.
- Ensure every part of the store can be seen by sales staff at all times. Blind spots, dressing rooms and tall shelving units make theft easy.
- Users of dressing rooms expect privacy, but there can be no such expectation on the store floor. Security cameras should be placed strategically to monitor the floor area. A large monitor at check out will provide live video from every camera to enable cashiers to view suspicious actions.
- Placing mirrors to view blind spots is an alternative to cameras although not as effective since staff cannot always be watching.
- Expensive merchandise should be looped through an alarm box or fitted with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) devices that sound an alarm as soon as the product is removed from its packaging or its shelf space.
Please Leave the Store
You have the right to ask someone to leave your store. Most merchants are hesitant to do this because they do not wish to create conflict or negative publicity. Nevertheless, you are well within your rights to ask someone to leave and inform them that if they return, they will be trespassing. Do not provide a specific reason. Above all, never suggest they are stealing and do not physically touch them. Such actions will not only escalate the situation but could result in legal actions against you. If an individual refuses to leave, contact the police and have the individual removed. Most provinces will have a trespass act that provides you with grounds to inform the unwanted customer either in writing or orally that they are not welcome on your premises. The wording will read something like the Ontario Trespass to Property Act (1990):
- (1)Every person who is not acting under a right or authority conferred by law and who,
(a) without the express permission of the occupier, the proof of which rests on the defendant,
(i) enters on premises when entry is prohibited under this Act, or
(ii) engages in an activity on premises when the activity is prohibited under this Act; or
(b) does not leave the premises immediately after he or she is directed to do so by the occupier of the premises or a person authorized by the occupier, is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not more than $10,000.
Detaining the individual on suspicion of theft without immediately calling the police is unwise since it risks a charge of “forcible confinement” under the Criminal Code. Consult with your lawyer to establish how and on what grounds your staff can approach and temporarily hold any suspected shoplifter.
Store staff are the frontline in shoplifting prevention. Educating staff in anti-shoplifting procedures combined with a one-time installation cost of physical deterrents should return your inventory costs and profit to their normal levels.
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