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Stealing from retail stores

In this section of the report, the findings are presented from a review of crime prevention strategies that have as a primary goal a reduction in stealing from retail stores. Following a brief review of the literature examining issues relating to the prevention of stealing from retail stores, a summary of the evidence in support of intervention types reviewed by the research team, an explanation of how they work and the characteristics of successful strategies are outlined.

Preventing stealing from retail stores

  • Stealing from retail store is broadly defined as the ‘theft of goods for sale, other than motor vehicles, by avoiding payment for those goods’ (ABS 2011: 56). Although generally believed to be a common and costly crime, the actual extent of retail theft (commonly known as shoplifting) is unknown, largely due to under-reporting and the inaccuracy of retail stock systems (Krasnovsky & Lane 1998). However, the Australian Retailers Association has suggested that the annual cost of shoplifting to the Australian retail industry is estimated to be in the billions (Binnie 2008). Further, recent crime statistics suggests that between 2007 and 2011 NSW shoplifting rates increased by three percent, but have stabilised over the last 24 months (Goh & Moffat 2012).

Research that examines stealing from retail offending shows a number of trends:

  • females are more likely than males to be apprehended for a shoplifting offence;
  • adolescents are over-represented in shoplifter populations; and
  • very few shoplifters are ever caught (Hayes 1999; Hayes et al. 2011; Krasnovsky & Lane 1998).
  • Further, research suggests that acts of shoplifting can be categorised as either rational or non-rational. While rational thieves are motivated by profit or gain, the behaviour of non-rational shoplifters may be symptomatic of psychological issues and stressors such as familial conflict or, in a small number of cases, kleptomania. Some strategies, most notably Shoplifters Anonymous, deal exclusively with the latter category of shoplifter, attempting to reduce shoplifting rates by treating offenders therapeutically. However, very few of these programs have been rigorously evaluated so their effectiveness is unclear (Krasnovsky & Lane 1998).
  • The majority of shoplifters are motivated by profit or gain and their crimes are typically opportunistic (Hayes 1991). A number of situational factors facilitate and encourage shoplifting:
  • the presence of CRAVED goods such as makeup and CDs/DVDs.
  • liberal store return policies;
  • store floor plans that provide opportunities for thieves to conceal items and exit without detection (eg numerous exits and changing rooms);
  • unsecured merchandise—retail staff may not place CRAVED items in secure cabinets as this increases staffing requirements and reduces impulse purchasing; and
  • the absence of security guards or EAS gates (Clarke 2002a; Hayes 1999).

The above list of situational risk factors suggests that multifaceted strategies may be more effective in reducing retail theft than singular interventions. Hayes (1991) argues that effective shoplifting prevention schemes involve CPTED principles, upgrading or introducing security systems such as CCTV and EAS tagging, and most importantly, employee awareness and education.

  • Other elements of shoplifting prevention programs may include:
  • the enforcement of strict stock monitoring procedures;
  • banning known shoplifters from the store; and
  • the implementation and communication of strict store policies around what to do when shoplifting is detected and how to detain a suspect (Clarke 2002a; Hayes 1991).

It should be noted that a large number of retail thefts (approximately 62%) may be perpetrated or facilitated by employees (Bamfield 1994). Determining whether it is staff or customers who are committing the majority of shoplifting offences in a particular store is vital and has direct implications for the type of intervention that should be implemented. For instance, although CCTV may deter customers from shoplifting, employees are usually able to circumvent these security measures (Greenberg & Barling 1996).

  • Interventions that specifically target employee theft include:
  • pre-employment screening (eg background checks);
  • promoting, communicating and enforcing strong anti-theft policies; and
  • bag checks (Greenberg & Barling 1996).

Research also suggests that retail stores in which staff and management have negative working relationships may have higher rates of employee thefts than stores where these relationships are positive (Greenberg & Barling 1996). When relationships between retail management and staff are negative, employee shoplifting may be legitimised by offenders as ‘punishing’ the business. Promoting strong, open and positive relationships between staff and management may go some way to addressing employee theft.

Findings from the review

A comprehensive summary of the findings from a review of strategies designed to prevent retail theft is presented in Table 19, which summarises the evidence for each intervention type identified by the review. Strategies examined as part of this review are described in Table 20. Overall, the review identified 16 studies that met the criteria for inclusion. Seven of these studies met level three on the SMS, while the other nine included before and after measures of shoplifting. Therefore, it is possible to draw some conclusions about the impact specific interventions have on stealing from retail store.

It was evident from the majority of evaluations that the areas targeted had been identified, usually through local crime statistics and retailers self-identification, as having a specific shoplifting problem. Further, an important factor that seemed to impact on the effectiveness of interventions was staff attitudes towards the program. Researchers noted complacent staff attitudes towards shoplifting in a number of studies. It appeared that the introduction of security measures in some stores made staff less likely to engage in basic crime prevention measures, such as approaching suspicious customers. It was suggested that perhaps the staff believed that their crime prevention duties had been made redundant by the introduction of CCTV cameras or security guards. This appeared to be addressed sufficiently in a number of studies where management encouraged staff to take their crime prevention duties seriously.

Further, a number of the reviewed strategies that were effective in reducing shoplifting rates involved a comprehensive security audit of the intervention site, conducted during the initial development stages of the project. This process provided program managers with valuable information about the profile of offenders, the goods they were targeting and how they were getting away with it. Security audits also assisted resource-strapped retailers to target their efforts more efficiently.

Interventions supported by evidence of effectiveness

After reviewing the available evidence, there was support for the effectiveness of a number of interventions:

  • Awareness campaigns involved providing retail staff or customers with information about a crime prevention initiative or skills to avoid victimisation, informing customers about harms caused by retail theft and publically identifying ‘hot’ merchandise. Two of the interventions involved staff or external parties conducting a security audit of the business to identify potential risk factors for shoplifting.
    • Awareness campaigns were used in nine of the reviewed programs, seven of which appeared to be effective in reducing inventory shortages. Two interventions had an immediate impact on shoplifting rates but this effect deteriorated over time.
    • Two of the effective strategies were targeted at school age children, one utilising a reward system to promote positive consumer behaviours.
    • Four of the effective strategies involved an awareness campaign as the sole intervention.
    • Three of the effective strategies involved awareness campaigns as part of a multifaceted strategy.
  • Access control measures were used in seven of the reviewed studies, six of which appeared to be effective in reducing retail theft. One had an immediate impact on shoplifting rates but this effect deteriorated over time. Interventions typically involved attaching EAS and/or ink tags to commonly stolen merchandise, or on a storewide basis, supported by stocktake counts of merchandise performed by security personnel or staff. Four of the effective strategies were accompanied by other intervention strategies, the most common being an education-type project (typically aimed at training staff to respond to EAS gates) and awareness campaigns. In two effective strategies, access control was implemented in isolation.
  • Four of the reviewed strategies used an education-type project, all of which appeared to be effective. Interventions typically involved teaching retail staff how to identify suspicious consumer behaviour and how to respond to suspected retail theft. Education projects were always accompanied by other interventions, the most common being awareness campaigns and access control measures such as EAS tagging.

Interventions with limited evidence of effectiveness

The evidence in support of the use of CCTV was unclear, due to the small number of studies and the lack of a sustained impact on crime rates. Two of the reviewed strategies introduced or upgraded a CCTV system. Both appeared to have an immediate impact on shoplifting rates, but this effect was not sustained over time. Interventions typically involved store management or security professionals identifying blind spots or hotspots that provide opportunities for theft and positioning cameras accordingly. CCTV was used as part of a broader multifaceted scheme in one program, whereas it was the primary and only intervention in the other program.

Suitability for implementation by local government

The majority of the reviewed strategies, except for one (Hiew 1981), were implemented by retail management. Consequently, the role of local government in projects aiming to reduce retail theft is less clear than it was in other areas, such as residential burglary. However, local government can provide information to retailers about effective crime prevention strategies and encourage retail operators to implement crime prevention strategies that are supported by evidence. Similarly, both local government and central agencies can develop resources (such as security audit tools and signage) that can be used by retail store owners and operators as part of an awareness campaign and to help inform access control measures. NSW CPD has previously worked with retail peak bodies to develop a training program for retail store owners and operators to build their capacity to prevent shoplifting and other offences in stores.

Table 19 Evidence in support of crime prevention interventions targeting stealing from retail storesa
Intervention Description of intervention Supported interventions Evidence of effectiveness Where it works How it worksb Characteristics of successful strategies

Access control (specifically EAS/ink tagging or security audits)

Aims to increase the effort associated with committing an offence, usually through the alteration of the physical environment or surroundings to make specific crimes more difficult

Education-type project

Community patrol

Awareness campaign

Seven of the reviewed studies utilised access control measures either by themselves or in combination with other interventions. Six of the strategies appeared to be effective in reducing shoplifting rates, while one had an immediate impact that was not sustained over time

Busy retail environments where the staff are willing to participate

Increase the perceived effort or rewards associated with a crime by making targets harder to access, remove or dispose

In two of the effective strategies, staff received EAS and crime prevention training and were encouraged to respond to all alarms. In another two successful programs, security audits were followed up with visible enforcement activities

Education-type project

Any structured set of activities that aim to deliver information to a target group. This involves the active participation of the target group

Access control

Awareness campaign

Community engagement project

CPTED

Four of the reviewed studies utilised some form of education-type project either by themselves or in combination with other intervention strategies. All of the strategies demonstrated evidence of effectiveness

Busy retail environments where the staff are willing to participate

Encourage individuals (potential targets or individuals who facilitate access to targets) to consider the implications of their actions and discourage behaviour that may create opportunities for crime to occur

Three of the effective studies used education projects in conjunction with a number of other strategies. In two of these programs, the implementers encouraged the community to become involved and support the program

Awareness campaign

An awareness campaign aims to provide information to a target group to raise awareness of specific issues, crimes, services and/or preventative measures. In the case of retail theft, this may involve posters alerting customers to the presence of CCTV cameras, reminding shoplifters that if caught they will be prosecuted or informing staff about security audits and stock counts

Education-type project

Community engagement/mobilisation project

CPTED

CCTV

Community patrol

Access control

Of the nine reviewed strategies that utilised an awareness campaign, seven appeared to be effective. Two studies appeared to have an immediate impact but the deterrent effect was not sustained in the long term

Busy retail environments where the staff are willing to participate

Encourage individuals (potential targets or individuals who facilitate access to targets) to consider the implications of their actions and discourage behaviour that may create opportunities for crime to occur

Increase an offender’s perceived risk of crime, the perceived effort of crime or reduce the anticipated rewards of crime to discourage them from committing an offence

Two of the effective strategies were specifically targeted at children and juveniles as they were seen as being the main offenders. Notably, one of these programs used positive reinforcement rather than threatening enforcement. A number of the effective strategies also used awareness campaigns to inform the target group about the implementation of the program

CCTV

CCTV involves the strategic placement of cameras to capture images that are recorded or transmitted to monitors. However, occasionally non-functional CCTV cameras may be used for their deterrent effect

Awareness campaign

CPTED

Education-type project

The evidence around the effectiveness of CCTV is mixed. Of the two reviewed strategies that utilised CCTV, both appeared to have caused an initial decrease in theft rates. However, this effect was not sustained in the long term

Busy retail environments

Introduce or improve formal or informal surveillance to increase the perceived risk that committing an offence will result in identification and capture

The inability of CCTV to sustain its deterrent effect could be attributed to shoppers becoming acclimatised to the presence of the cameras and becoming adept at avoiding them. It may be that revitalising the advertising campaign around the use of CCTV cameras, store layout and the position of cameras may help sustain its deterrent effect.

a: Limited to those interventions for which there was more than one evaluated strategy

b: Based on those mechanisms that were identified for effective strategies

Table 20 Crime prevention strategies targeting stealing from retail stores
Source Context Intervention(s) Mechanism(s) Outcomes Research design

Hayes and Blackwood (2006)

Target crime—retail theft

Nature or problem—high rates of retail theft in a single national mass merchant retail chain.

Target location—regional areas of the United States.

Access control—EAS tags and gates were installed in a number of stores. Twenty-one stores separated into three cells. Cell 1—50 percent EAS tagging and gates; Cell 2—100 percent EAS tagging and gates; Cell 3—100 percent EAS tagging, no gates. Door greeters were also placed on every entrance

Education-type project—retail staff received EAS and crime prevention training

Increase an offender’s perceived risk of crime, the perceived effort of crime or reduce the anticipated rewards of crime to discourage them from committing an offence

Increase the perceived effort or rewards associated with a crime by making targets harder to access, remove or dispose of

(Uncertain effect)

Intervention—54.5 percent decrease in inventory losses- 1.28 items per week per store

Comparison—61.2 percent decrease in inventory losses 1.77 items per week per store

Evaluation focus—outcome

Evaluation design—pre–post. Control

Research methods and source of data—quantitative and qualitative—stocktake data, observations, CCTV footage.

Level on SMS—3

Hiew (1981)

Operation SOS (Stop our shoplifting)

Target crime—retail theft

Nature of problem—high costs of shoplifting and rising rates of juvenile involvement in retail theft.

Target location—Fredericton, Canada. Small urban area—shoplifting rates comparable with larger urban townships.

Awareness campaign—middle school and high school students attended shoplifting seminars presented by a police officer. Student representatives created and disseminated a pamphlet about shoplifting. Posters displayed in shop windows informed shoppers about the dangers of shoplifting

Education-type project—police and crown prosecutors ran retail staff training sessions, teaching them how to detect and prevent retail theft

Community engagement/mobilisation project—rotary club talks encouraged the community to help fight retail theft

Increase an offender’s perceived risk of crime, the perceived effort of crime or reduce the anticipated rewards of crime to discourage them from committing an offence

Increase the perceived effort or rewards associated with a crime by making targets harder to access, remove or dispose of

(Desirable effect)

Intervention—42.2 percent decrease in shoplifting prosecutions between 1977 (pre) and 1978 (post) (303 to 175 incidences). More marked decrease within juvenile offenders (58.8%) when compared with adult arrests (36.3%). Shoplifting apprehensions by security personnel declined by 60.3 percent

Evaluation focus—process and outcome

Evaluation design—pre–post

Research methods and source of data—quantitative and qualitative—interviews with store owners, community surveys, police and crown prosecutor crime data

Level on SMS—2

McNees et al. (1976)

Target crime—retail theft

Nature of problem—escalating rates of shoplifting and retail losses, in particular in the young woman’s apparel section.

Target location—department store in Tennessee, United States.

Awareness campaign—Phase 1—large anti-shoplifting posters were displayed in the young women’s apparel department and informed shoppers that shoplifting is a crime and increases the cost of merchandise. Phase 2—tags were attached to merchandise identified as being frequent targets of theft. Posters informed shoppers that marked clothing was hot merchandise

Increase an offender’s perceived risk of crime, the perceived effort of crime or reduce the anticipated rewards of crime to discourage them from committing an offence

(Desirable effect)

Intervention—Phase 1—number of missing items (per day) reduced from 1.30 to 0.88. When the signs were removed, missing items increased to 1.4. Phase 2—greater reduction in the theft of popular items. 0.66 reduced to 0.06 (tops) and 0.50 to 0.03 (pants)

Adjacent—no change in theft rates, no diffusion effect

Evaluation focus—process and outcome

Evaluation design—pre–post

Research methods and source of data—quantitative- stocktake data

Level on SMS—2

Farrington et al. (1993)

Target crime—retail theft

Nature of problem—very high rates of inventory loss in department store chain (more than 10% of stock was stolen)

Target location—areas characterised by high levels of unemployment and violence—Altrincham and Wolverhampton, United Kingdom

Access control—stores provided with EAS tags

Education type project—staff provided with EAS training

Increase an offender’s perceived risk of crime, the perceived effort of crime or reduce the anticipated rewards of crime to discourage them from committing an offence

Increase the perceived effort or rewards associated with a crime by making targets harder to access, remove or dispose of

(Desirable effect)

Intervention—decrease in shoplifting rates in both treatment sites. Altrincham—decrease from 12 to two. Wolverhampton—18 items reduced to five

Comparison—constant rates of retail losses

Evaluation focus: Outcome

Evaluation design: Pre-post. Control

Research methods and source of data: Quantitative and qualitative- stocktake data, observations, CCTV footage

Level on SMS—3

Farrington et al. (1993)

Target crime—retail theft

Nature of problem—very high rates of inventory loss in department store chain (more than 10% of stock was stolen)

Target location— areas characterised by high levels of unemployment and violence— Bradford and Glasgow, United Kingdom

Awareness campaign—trainee managers were set with the task of identifying opportunities for crime that could be reduced through redesign

Posters warned shoppers that CCTV was being used, although this was not true in Glasgow. In Glasgow, management ran staff information sessions about shoplifting and crime prevention strategies

CCTV—in Bradford, staff cleaned up cameras and pointed them at hotspot areas and on hot merchandise

Increase an offender’s perceived risk of crime, the perceived effort of crime or reduce the anticipated rewards of crime to discourage them from committing an offence

Manipulate the physical environment (built or landscape) to improve surveillance, define ownership of spaces and minimise conflict between users

(Uncertain effect)

Intervention—initial decrease in shoplifting rates in both sites. This effect was not maintained at follow up—shoplifting rates had increased again

Comparison—constant rates of shoplifting

Evaluation focus—outcome

Evaluation design—pre–post, control

Research methods and source of data—quantitative and qualitative—stocktake data, observations, CCTV footage

Level on SMS—3

Farrington et al. (1993)

Target crime—retail theft

Nature of problem—department store chain with very high rates of inventory loss (more than 10% of stock was stolen). Seven months prior to intervention there was a serious security problem in one of the intervention stores that resulted in all of the staff being fired

Target location— areas characterised by high levels of unemployment and violence— Leeds and Reading, United Kingdom

Community patrol—uniformed security guards were hired to patrol the treatment sites. They walked around the store, but typically focused their presence on the cash desk and the exit/entrances

Increase an offender’s perceived risk of crime, the perceived effort of crime or reduce the anticipated rewards of crime to discourage them from committing an offence

Introduce or improve formal or informal surveillance to increase the perceived risk that committing an offence will result in identification and capture

(Null effect)

Intervention—no decrease in shoplifting rates

Comparison—constant rates of shoplifting

Evaluation focus—outcome.

Evaluation design—pre–post, control

Research methods and source of data—quantitative and qualitative—stocktake data, observations, CCTV footage

Level on SMS—3

Casteel et al. (2004)

Target crime—retail theft and violent crime

Nature of problem—high rates of personal and property crime in liquor stores

Target location—Santa Monica, United States. Area with a large tourist population

Awareness campaign—researchers conducted preliminary interviews with management in order to identify risk factors for crime. Recommendations included (1) keeping a minimal amount of cash on the premises (2) ensuring good visibility inside and outside the premises (3) maintaining bright interior and exterior lighting (4) limiting access and escape routes

Education-type project—staff trained to detect and respond to robbery and shoplifting events

Manipulate the physical environment (built or landscape) to improve surveillance, define ownership of spaces and minimise conflict between users

Increase an offender’s perceived risk of crime, the perceived effort of crime or reduce the anticipated rewards of crime to discourage them from committing an offence

(Desirable effect)

Intervention—87.1 percent decrease in shoplifting events and 82.2 percent decrease in robbery events

Comparison—increasing rates of all measured crimes. Control stores were five times more likely to experience a robbery/shoplifting event than intervention stores

Evaluation focus—outcome

Evaluation design—pre–post, control

Research methods and source of data—quantitative—police crime records

Level on SMS— 3

Beck and Willis (1999)

Target crime—retail theft

Nature of problem—high rates of retail theft, especially in fashion stores

Target location—15 stores in the United Kingdom operated by a large fashion retailer. All stores were operating in a similar retail environment

CCTV—intervention stores separated into three different groups which received different CCTV systems. Three received high-level system, 2–4 pan, tilt and zoom colour cameras, 8–12 static colour cameras, monitors stationed at every entrance, facility to record, security staff monitoring system at all times. Six received medium-level system, 6–12 static colour cameras, public monitors at every customer entrance, facility to record, monitoring performed by store manager from their office when time permitted. Six stores received low level system, up to 12 dummy cameras, public monitors at every customer entrance but no facility to record

Increase an offender’s perceived risk of crime, the perceived effort of crime or reduce the anticipated rewards of crime to discourage them from committing an offence

(Uncertain effect)

Intervention—overall decrease in retail losses from 72 to 52. High-level CCTV stores 39.8 percent reduction in lost goods (166 to100). Medium-level CCTV stores 16.7 percent reduction (54 to 45). Low-level stores 20.4 percent reduction (44 to 35)

Effect was not sustained after six months. High-level stores 26 percent reduction (123 to 91). Medium-level stores 31.8 percent increase (44 to 58). Low- level stores 9.1 percent increase (44 to 48)

Evaluation focus—outcome

Evaluation design—pre–post

Research methods and source of data—quantitative- stocktake data

Level on SMS—2

DiLonardo and Clarke (1996)

Target crime—retail theft

Nature of problem—high rates of retail theft despite the use of EAS tags

Target location—four established stores, all branches of a single division, in demographically similar areas

Access control—ink tags replaced existing EAS tags. Ink tags attached to merchandise and if tampered with will break, staining the garment

Increase an offender’s perceived risk of crime, the perceived effort of crime or reduce the anticipated rewards of crime to discourage them from committing an offence

(Desirable effect)

Intervention—retail shortages dropped from 4.5 percent of sales to 2.4 percent (42% decrease). After five years, there appeared to be slight deterioration in its deterrent effect

Evaluation focus—outcome

Evaluation design—pre–post

Research methods and source of data—quantitative—stocktake data

Level on SMS—2

Bamfield (1994)

Target crime: Retail theft

Nature of problem: High rates of theft in the retail chain. Poor store environment- aggressive customers and violence towards staff

Target location: Four stores in a retail chain. Had previously implemented EAS tagging but this proved to be ineffective in reducing shrinkage rates

Access control—90 percent of all merchandise was EAS tagged and detection gates placed at every entrance/exit. A security guard was placed at the store exit

Awareness campaign—management placed posters advertising the use of the EAS system around the store

Increase an offender’s perceived risk of crime, the perceived effort of crime or reduce the anticipated rewards of crime to discourage them from committing an offence

Introduce or improve formal or informal surveillance to increase the perceived risk that committing an offence will result in identification and capture

Increase the perceived effort or rewards associated with a crime by making targets harder to access, remove or dispose of

(Desirable effect)

Intervention—stores A and B achieved a decline of 40 percent or more in shrinkage. Store C reduced shrinkage by 22 percent, while Store D experienced a slight increase in shrink (5%). Importantly, during the evaluation, four staff members from Store D were arrested for complicity in an organised theft operation.

Comparison—shrinkage increased by three percent

Evaluation focus—outcome

Evaluation design—pre–post, control

Research methods and source of data—quantitative and qualitative— interviews with management and stocktake data

Level on SMS—3

Masuda (1992)

Target crime—retail theft

Nature of problem—escalating rates of shrinkage in a electronics/appliance retailer. Recent expansions in the business were accompanied by an increase in stock levels and an increase in staff thefts

Target location—New Jersey (US)

Access control—preventive survey audits. VCRs and camcorders were identified by audit team as being particularly prone to theft. Loss prevention personnel would enter locked storage areas where merchandise is kept to make daily counts of targeted merchandise. Physical counts are compared with stock records and discrepancies noted

Increase an offender’s perceived risk of crime, the perceived effort of crime or reduce the anticipated rewards of crime to discourage them from committing an offence

(Desirable effect)

Intervention—in the first month, theft of VCRs/camcorders dropped by 90 percent, 2nd month 83 percent and by the 3rd month was 100 percent. Some diffusion effect- big screen TVs were not included in the counts but theft rates reduced significantly (85%)

Evaluation focus—outcome and process

Evaluation design—pre–post

Research methods and source of data—quantitative—stocktake data

Level on SMS—2

Carter et al (1988)

Target crime—employee theft

Nature of problem—high rates of employee perpetrated retail theft

Target location—independently owned and operated large grocery store in Uppsala, Sweden

Awareness campaign—observers informed staff that they were conducting inventory checks on merchandise which was popular with thieves. Staff were given information and handouts with the store’s theft statistics

Access control—on a bi-weekly basis, observers entered the store and conducted manual counts of the targeted merchandise

Increase an offender’s perceived risk of crime, the perceived effort of crime or reduce the anticipated rewards of crime to discourage them from committing an offence

Increase the perceived effort or rewards associated with a crime by making targets harder to access, remove or dispose of

(Desirable effect)

Intervention—overall, targeted item thefts decreased from eight per day to two. Candy thefts decreased from 4.7 to 1.2. Personal hygiene products reduced from 1.6 to 0.8 per day. Only one piece of jewellery was stolen during the intervention period. Interviews with staff revealed that some had changed their behaviour as they had become more observant of customer behaviour around certain merchandise

Evaluation focus—outcome

Evaluation design—pre–post

Research methods and source of data—quantitative and qualitative- stocktake data and interviews with staff and management

Level on SMS—2

McNees et al. (1980)

Target crime—retail theft perpetrated by school age children

Nature of problem—perception that a large number of petty thefts are committed by elementary school age children

Target location—convenience food store, close to an elementary school and affluent area. Nashville, United States

Awareness campaign—clerks asked children when they came to the counter if they had paid for all of their items. If they responded yes, the child received a cardboard shark tooth. When they collected five teeth, they received a prize. If the child came in when the shark was ‘hooked’, they received two prizes, or a special surprise. The shark was hooked if shop theft rates had decreased significantly

Increase an offender’s perceived risk of crime, the perceived effort of crime or reduce the anticipated rewards of crime to discourage them from committing an offence

(Desirable effect)

Intervention—thefts dropped from 32 per week to 15 (58%). The theft rate rose to 44 after the program ended

Evaluation focus—outcome and process

Evaluation design—pre–post

Research methods and source of data—quantitative- stocktake records

Level on SMS—2

Carter and Holmberg (1992)

Target crime—retail theft

Nature of problem—rising rates of retail theft in Sweden

Target location—independently owned and run grocery stores in Vasteras, Sweden

Awareness campaign—posters informed customers that tagged items were those targeted by thieves

Increase an offender’s perceived risk of crime, the perceived effort of crime or reduce the anticipated rewards of crime to discourage them from committing an offence

(Desirable effect)

Intervention—overall thefts of targeted items reduced from 3.71 per week to 0.19

Evaluation focus—outcome

Evaluation design—pre–post

Research methods and source of data—quantitative -stocktake data

Level on SMS—2

Hayes et al. (2011)

Target crime—retail theft

Nature of problem—high rates of theft around certain hot products in a supermarket chain

Target location—major US supermarket chain in the Southeast

Access control—clear plastic lockable boxes (keeper boxes) were used to protect hot products from theft

Increase an offender’s perceived risk of crime, the perceived effort of crime or reduce the anticipated rewards of crime to discourage them from committing an offence

(Desirable effect)

Intervention—shrinkage levels dropped approximately two thirds from 527 to 195

Comparison—shrinkage levels dropped but less significantly 341 to 248

Evaluation focus—outcome

Evaluation design—pre–post. Control

Research methods and source of data—quantitative- stocktake data

Level on SMS—3

Carter et al. (1979)

Target crime—retail theft

Nature of problem—management self-identified as having a significant shoplifting problem in certain departments

Target location—independently owned and operated department store in Uppsala, Sweden.

Awareness campaign—large anti-shoplifting posters were displayed near items that were identified by managements as hot merchandise (halogen bulbs, leather jackets, Elvis Presley CDs and lip-gloss). Posters informed customers that merchandise marked with a red circle are frequently targeted by shoplifters

Increase an offender’s perceived risk of crime, the perceived effort of crime or reduce the anticipated rewards of crime to discourage them from committing an offence

(Desirable effect)

Intervention—decrease in inventory shortages for all targeted items. Lip gloss (18% to 9%), Elvis CDs (9% to 3%), leather jackets (18% to 0%) and halogen bulbs (31% to 20%)

Evaluation focus—process and outcome

Evaluation design—pre–post

Research methods and source of data—quantitative- stocktake data

Level on SMS—2