In the five minutes it takes to read this, 2,500 items worth $125,000 will disappear from U.S. retailers’ shelves. The gift-buying madness between Thanksgiving and Christmas is a prime time for shoplifters, who are a more diverse and richer coalition than you might expect, but retailers are finding their own creative ways to counter the five-finger discount.
Annual shoplifting losses:
(National Association for Shoplifting Prevention)
Frequency of shoplifting:
1 in 11 people has shoplifted
Average amount shoplifted by type of thief:
(25th Annual Retail Theft Survey)
Chance of ...
Getting caught: 1 in 48
A caught shoplifter being turned in to police: 1 in 2
Who are the shoplifters?
According to a 2008 Columbia University study, shoplifting “was more common among those with higher education and income, suggesting that financial considerations are unlikely to be the main motivator.”
Under 18: 25%
Highly targeted items:
(National Retail Federation)
Percent of stores with ...
Visible CCTV: 70%
Hidden CCTV: 46%
A plainclothes store detective: 33%
Door receipt checkers: 27%
Ink tags: 27%
Radio-frequency tags: 20%
Fitting-room attendants: 15%
Observation booths: 2%
(National Retail Security Survey)
Latest theft-prevention technology:
With radio-frequency identification, smart chips can track what’s stolen from where.
Can detect items in aluminum-lined “booster bags” used to foil sensors.
A two-inch rectangular tag sewn directly but unobtrusively into fabric.
Apple’s accelerometer system
Apple secured a patent for a motion sensor built into iPhones “to determine whether a theft condition is present.”