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Correlates of Crime Losses in the Retail Industry

NCJ Number
Security Journal Volume: 18 Issue: 3 Dated: 2005 Pages: 27-44
Lynn Langton; Richard C. Hollinger
Date Published
18 pages
This paper attempts to identify the most effective loss prevention (LP) strategies in the retail industry, in order to provide an indication of what seems to be working and what does not.
For many years the most costly crimes in the United States, as measured in terms of dollars lost per year, continue to be employee theft and shoplifting. Everyone is negatively affected by employee theft and shoplifting, costing the retail industry and consumers billions of dollars annually. This study explored the effectiveness of different strategies used by loss prevention (LP) departments to reduce this deficit, otherwise known as “inventory shrinkage.” The study attempted to identify those characteristics and LP strategies that appear to have the greatest impact on shrinkage rates. By using data collected from the University of Florida’s 2003 National Retail Security Survey, the empirical relationship between various LP strategies and levels of inventory shrinkage were examined. What emerges from this study is that many retailers take a “shot gun” approach in battling their shrinkage problems. They use as many LP systems and programs as possible in the hopes that one or more will work. However, in the end the most important difference between low- and high-shrinkage retailers appears to be in the employment of capable human guardians/honest employees rather than physical security systems. Appendixes A-D, 51 notes