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Shoplifter, Dishonest Employee Arrests Rise in 2017, Retail Theft Survey Says

Nearly 62% of the retail theft survey participants reported an increase in shrink in 2017, with 28.6% reporting a decrease, according to Jack L. Hayes Int’l.

WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. —  More than 432,000 shoplifters and dishonest employees were apprehended in 2017 by 21 large retailers who recovered over $188 million from the thefts, according to the 30th Annual Retail Theft Survey conducted by Jack L. Hayes Int’l.

Shoplifting apprehensions increased 2.3% in 2017, with the dollars recovered increasing almost 13%. This marks the eighth rise in both shoplifter apprehensions and dollar recoveries in the past decade. Recoveries from shoplifters where no apprehension was made increased for the 21st consecutive year, an increase of 18% in 2017, according to the loss prevention consulting firm, based here.

“While dishonest employee apprehensions and recovery dollars were down [almost 4% and 7%, respectively], retail theft overall continues to be a serious problem for retailers negatively impacting their bottom-line, which results in higher prices to consumers,” says Mark Doyle, president of Jack L. Hayes Int’l.

Highlights from annual theft survey include:

  • Participants: 21 large retail companies with 16,409 stores and over $428 billion in retail sales (2017)
  • Apprehensions: 432,046 shoplifters and dishonest employees were apprehended in 2017, up 1.7% from 2016
  • Recovery dollars: Over $188 million was recovered from apprehended shoplifters and dishonest employees in 2017, up 8.1% from 2016.
  • Shoplifter apprehensions: 391,760 shoplifters were apprehended in 2017, up 2.3% from 2016.
  • Shoplifter recovery dollars: Over $149 million was recovered from apprehended shoplifters in 2017, up 12.9% from 2016. An additional $185 million was recovered from shoplifters where no apprehension was made, up a significant 18.1% from 2016.
  • Employee apprehensions: 40,286 dishonest employees were apprehended in 2017, down 4% from 2016
  • Employee recovery dollars: Over $38 million was recovered from employee apprehensions in 2017, down 7% from 2016
  • One in every 35 employees was apprehended for theft from their employer in 2017. (Based on over 1.4 million employees.)
  • Shrink: 61.9% of survey participants reported an increase in shrink in 2017, with 28.6% reporting a decrease in shrink, and another 9.5% reported shrink stayed about the same

Doyle estimates total retail losses due to shoplifting are approximately $44.2 billion annually, based on a Univ. of Florida survey. Shoplifting is conservatively estimated to account for 30% to 40% of total retail shrink/losses, according to surveys conducted by Univ. of Florida and Jack Hayes Int’l.

The average shoplifting case for all types of retail is approximately $50, based upon data taken from various surveys. For a more detailed review of the 30th Annual Retail Theft Survey, go here.

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