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How Security and Loss Prevention Has Changed Over Time

By Jon Benowitz on April 16, 2014 in Loss Prevention

Loss prevention is a term that refers to the measures that are often taken by companies to protect themselves against in day-to-day operation losses.  There are a number of other phrases related to loss prevention including asset protection, security prevention, and theft management. These terms are interchangeable with one another.

The idea of loss prevention was not always as common as it is today.  For many years, retailers used security teams in an effort to protect their property and investments.  On-site security also provides a visual deterrent to individuals that might consider shoplifting.  Oftentimes these individuals wear uniforms, and would walk around the store overseeing the operation.  Although they have no lawful authority, other than to perfect the property within the store, this gave the impression of authority that deterred individuals from stealing property from stores.

However, over the years it has become increasingly clear that many stores deal with losses that go way beyond the typical theft.  As security guards became more common in retail stores, shoplifters and thieves started to use more advanced methods for stealing goods.  As thieves and criminals began to invent new ways to get their hands on products, stores naturally began to look for ways to counteract this.  They started to develop new teams, whose sole intent was to prevent loss, while remaining unseen to the potential thieves.  It was learned that uniformed security guards, while threatening, always alerted sensual thieves to who they needed to look out for.  However, having plain clothed loss prevention teams that acted more like store detectives they were able to catch thieves more easily.

With the invention of robust and high definition security camera systems – DVR’s and NVRs have become more practical for most business.  The ability to watch over the entire store or business, and also watch customers as they walked via a security camera system has proven more cost-effective and often a better option then on-site security staff.   Video surveillance security camera systems make it easy to watch over the business throughout the course of the day.  This allows the stores to save money on employees, continue to protect themselves from theft, and allows the management/business owners to keep an eye on their properties using their smartphones or computers to tap into their camera systems.  All this protection is not possible when it with just a uniformed security guard.

These new methods have become commonplace throughout the retail industry, and continue to be one of the main avenues for stores to deter individuals and employees from stealing.  Nearly every large department store has a hidden loss prevention team behind the scenes, likely watching through their security camera system.

Theft deterrence is often something that rates highly on retail stores list of priorities.  The job description of these individuals has changed greatly over the course of the last few decades, and your typical loss prevention employee has seen their duties grow.  They continue to play an integral part in many businesses, especially retail businesses across the globe and the use of security cameras has greatly impacted the success rate of their responsibilities.


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Jon BenowitzView all posts by Jon Benowitz

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