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Anti-Theft Procedures and Fixtures: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Two Situational Crime Prevention Measures

NCJ Number
Read Hayes; Daniel M. Downs; Robert Blackwood
Date Published
March 2012
15 pages
This study was designed to test two problem-focused situational crime prevention treatments (protective display fixtures and special high-loss product handling procedures) on loss and sales levels of a perennial 'hot product' (premium shaving blade replacement packs).

The study design was a 57-store location randomized controlled trial using Chi-square analyses and effect size estimates (i.e., odds ratios with 95 percent confidence intervals). The study provided evidence that both treatments were both efficacious and cost-effective with fixtures reducing losses by 56 percent and the procedures reducing losses by 58 percent in the post-test period when compared to non-treated control locations. The evidence indicated the tested treatments helped cost-effectively control a chronic theft problem in the test stores. The outcome provided support for using the SARA problem-solving process to apply situational crime prevention measures with carefully articulated mechanisms of action. The relatively small sample size from a single retail operation limits generalizability, but the studied theft problem's dynamics are fairly common across retail store types and geographic locations. Future research should strive to measure displacement and diffusion side effects as well as time to treatment therapeutic level and/or deterioration to add further insight. Abstract published by arrangement with Springer.