Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Loss Prevention Remote

To stop shoplifters from getting away
  [vote for,

Didn't really see a category for loss prevention, security, asset protection, or anything else relating to the apprehension of shoplifters and recovery of stolen merchandise, so I think this was the closest to the mark of the available categories. This idea is for a handheld device to be issued to plainclothes store security agents to aid in the tracking and apprehension of shoplifters. (In case you were wondering, there's a lot of theft in this town, and retail/grocery stores in this area frequently sustain quarterly losses of 30,000.00 or more due to stolen merchandise.)

The device would do 2 things, primarily. First, it would have a screen like a PDA with a direct wireless link to the store's camera system, so the agent can view the feed from the cameras over a particular aisle from just around the corner, without risking the thief spotting him (trust me, the plainclothes don't make an agent unspottable, not by any means, a good thief can identify a plainclothes securtity agent with ease), yet remain close enough to avoid losing sight of the thief as he makes his way to the exit with the pocketed merchandise and be close enough to grab the thief without having to climb down from a catwalk or out of a monitor-equipped office.

The second function would be a remote control for the automatic sliding doors, so if the thief tries to run, the agent can simply lock the doors shut with the press of a button, trapping the thief in the vestibule.

The benefit of such a system, which wouldn't have to be very expensive, since in many stores there's already an existing camera system, would be noticeable to customers in the form of reduced prices for store goods, since the store would not have to raise prices as much to compensate for stolen inventory.

This would be an improvement over current security measures, which usually consist of only 1 or 2 security agents to cover the whole store, and with one on the floor to apprehend suspects and one on the camera system (actually, the cameras almost never get used except when backtracking for evidence, since both agents usually work the floor), there's a lot that gets missed. This would make the 2-man team much more effective, and save customers a lot of money.

21 Quest, Oct 19 2008

Well, we don't get ALL our equipment by shoplifting... http://www.epinions...ontent_235075243652
[normzone, Oct 30 2008]


       A friend of mine is the manager of a department in a large home improvement store. He and all employees are told not to bother the shoplifters. So thieves pick up drills, circular saws, most anything, and walk out with them. Locking the doors would be an inconvenience to the shoplifters, so that probably wouldn’t be allowed.
Amos Kito, Oct 19 2008

       Wouldn't keep 'em locked. Just long enough to put the thief in cuffs. My point is, if the store's gonna shell out the dough to hire security folks to stop shoplifters, why not make tools available to increase their effectiveness? Thing is, in Idaho and Washington, at least, every shoplifter that gets caught has to pay a 250.00 civil restitution fine to the store, plus the cost of merchandise. So the store basically gets to sell the stolen piece of merchandise twice, because the thief has to pay for it, but the store gets to resell it. So the store makes a lot of money every time a shoplifter gets caught. When the a thief gets caught, the store does not only recoup losses. The store MAKES money. Besides, in my experience, when a shoplifter gets caught, most shoppers like to stop and stare anyway, so locking the doors momentarily doesn't really impede them.
21 Quest, Oct 19 2008

       I'm afraid locking the doors is mucho fire code No-No. The fine would overshadow the theft cost probably.(unless you lock the doors AND turn on the sprinklers) I would like to see your remote/camera on my tire slashers the only thing making mine special is that they are in places people actually steal things (gas stations)instead of just parking garages.
HiHowRU, Oct 19 2008

       //Didn't really see a category for loss prevention, security, asset protection, or anything else relating to the apprehension of shoplifters and recovery of stolen merchandise// Perhaps because we don't like the side effects.
Spacecoyote, Oct 19 2008

       // So thieves pick up .... most anything, and walk out with them //

       Errrr.... [Amos], errr..... this store your friend works at .... you wouldn't mind sharing its location, would you ? Please ?
8th of 7, Oct 20 2008

       I remember when I was working in retail, the rule (here in Australia) was that I was NEVER allowed to detain, touch, threaten or even accuse a thief.

       Apparently, as a store attendant, or whatever I was, I wasn't qualified to recognise shoplifting. I could watch someone grab something, pocket it, and walk out, but apparently I was not skilled enough to recognise this reliably as shoplifting. So I had to let people walk. Were I to in any way restrain them, which included closing doors, standing in their way, etc - it was unlawful detainment, or something or other, and I could get in big trouble. Even worse was if I had the temerity to accuse someone of theft - which was apparently a prety bad thing to do, I could get in trouble for that too.

       I think I like that Idaho system. I say deputise the shop assistants, and give 'em nightsticks as well. or Katana.
Custardguts, Oct 20 2008

       This works for me. Gets a practical [+].

       I don't see the fire hazard argument. Surely the remote has an "unlock" button as well? Give the fire alarm an automatic override of the doors.

       Also don't get the point of security guards if they're not allowed to chase and apprehend thieves. Just a visual deterrent?
theleopard, Oct 21 2008

       Don't you have to take it out of the store for it to be shoplifting? If so the device could be used by the security personnel outside. They monitor the individual and figure out which exit he's headed for and nab him with the goods outside where he can't say "Oh I put it in my pocket because my hands were full."

       No need to lock doors and chase him around the store this way.
theGem, Oct 21 2008

       The fire hazard no-no argument can be partially mitigated if the locking system for stopping shoplifters is fail-safe (as opposed to the locking mechanism used when the store is closed, which would be fail-secure). One simple way of designing a fail-safe lock: deadbolt that is recessed into the floor, pulled upwards by a weak electro-magnet. If the whole system is powered using a battery, it probably won't be triggerable by a fire.

       Likely still a no-no.
aguydude, Oct 22 2008

       Fire safety would not be a problem if you simply turned the system off if the fire alarm sounded. I would have thought that was screamingly obvious. I cant count the number of buildinfs I have lived or worked in that require security card entry or exit that automatically unlock in case of a fire.
miasere, Oct 22 2008

       //Also don't get the point of security guards if they're not allowed to chase and apprehend thieves. Just a visual deterrent?//

       Contracted security folks are allowed to chase and detain, because they are trained and CERTIFIED to recognize an act of shoplifting. The security folks in a lot of the stores here (Safeway, Super 1, Trading Company Stores, Yoke's, IGA to name a few) are commissioned through the police academy as Special Commissioned Officers (actually trained for a week at the academy) and are authorized to handcuff and issue citations to shoplifters. The thing with store employees stopping shoplifters isn't a law preventing it, but store policy caused by lawsuit liability due to the high numbers of incorrect accusations by untrained employees. Loss Prevention agents are required to witness several things before stopping someone. 1) They MUST see the suspect take the item from a store shelf, otherwise the suspect can say they brought it in with them. 2) They MUST see the person conceal the item (not neccesarily the act of concealment, but if the suspect carries an item into an aisle or the bathroom and walks out without it, and the agent cannot find it in the aisle or bathroom, obviously it was concealed). 3) the agent MUST see the person go through or past the checkstand and, if the person went through the checkstand to pay for something else, watch carefully to make sure the concealed item does not get scanned, then watch the person exit the store.

       Normally, LP Agents DO wait until the person gets all the way outside. But if it's a minor with a case of beer trying to run out the door, the minor has no excuse for having the beer at all, let alone near the exit. The trouble with waiting outside for runners is that they often have a getaway car waiting immediately outside the exit. This would be used primarily for runners and cart pushers, which is how the most expensive merchandise is usually lost.

       By the way, sorry I've been gone so long. I've missed this place a lot, but I've been struggling financially the last year and have only recently begun getting my debts paid off, so I have no regular access to the internet, and less to the beloved 'Bakery. That will change soon, I hope. I'm finally getting my life turned around for the better. Thanks for always being here!
21 Quest, Oct 29 2008

       //Didn't really see a category for loss prevention, security, asset protection, or anything else relating to the apprehension of shoplifters and recovery of stolen merchandise//

       Where do you think we get all our neat toys?
shapu, Oct 30 2008

       Shhhhh .....
8th of 7, Oct 30 2008


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