Study: Retail Theft Down Slightly in 2009


Losses from retail theft nationwide totaled $33.5 billion last year, down from $36.5 billion or 1.51 percent in 2008, according to preliminary results of the National Retail Security Survey (NRSS).

The latest findings from the NRSS, conducted each year by the University of Florida with a funding grant from ADT Security Services, were announced Tuesday at the National Retail Federation’s Loss Prevention conference in Atlanta.

Joe La Rocca, senior asset protection advisor for the National Retail Federation (NRF), suggests the slight reduction may be attributed to increased loss prevention efforts by retailers.

“The decrease in the rate of theft is evidence of continued efforts by retailers to protect inventories and hold on to merchandise,” La Rocca says. “This last year we have seen retailers working closer with law enforcement and really maximizing their investment in loss prevention.”

As in previous years, the majority of retail shrinkage in 2009 was due to employee theft, at $14.4 billion, accounting for 43 percent of total losses. Retailers lost $11.7 billion to shoplifting or 35 percent of total losses. Losses in both categories remained about the same last year compared to 2008.

To combat shrinkage, retailers are increasingly deploying network-based solutions that integrate multiple technologies, including register transactions with video, people counting with sales data, and alarms with remote monitoring, according to Jeff Bean, vice president, National Accounts and Retail, ADT.

“They are using sophisticated video and software to detect unusual shopping patterns,” says Bean. “Retailers are working more often with law enforcement to match up video with repeat shoplifters and study patterns and trends that can break up theft rings and lead to arrests.”

To read more about how anti-theft technologies can mitigate shoplifting and related crimes, check out “Helping Retailers Roll Back Losses” in SSI‘s January issue or click here.

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