A recent survey study of 25 large retail companies found that shoplifter apprehensions was up by 16.8% in 2009 over 2008. The survey was conducted by Jack L. Hayes International, Inc. Additionally, the report found that “shoplifters and dishonest employees stole over $6 billion” in merchandise in 2009, from just the 25 major retailers surveyed alone.

Here’s a look at the shoplifting numbers in more detail:

2008 2009 #/$ Difference Pct.
Apprehensions 868,858 1,014,817 145,959 16.80%
Recoveries $110,664,294 $111,776,369 $1,112,075 1.00%
Avg. Case Value $127.37 $110.14 -$17.22 -13.52%
Hours Per Apprehension*  (*12 companies reporting) 54.8 43.78 -20.11%
Recoveries (No Apprehension Made) $24,522,155 $29,266,930 $4,744,775 19.35%

So why the increase in shoplifter apprehensions? Survey respondents shed their thoughts on the subject. The top 5 reasons they attribute the rise to are:

  • Struggling economy is causing more shoplifting to take place
  • Fewer employees on the sales floor creating more shoplifting opportunities
  • Organized Retail Crime (ORC) activity continues to increase
  • LP personnel focusing on high shrink areas and merchandise
  • Reduced social stigma of shoplifting

Of course there are many ways retailers can protect their inventories from would-be thieves. We offer up the following tips to prevent product loss due to shoplifting:

  1. Ensure employees are properly trained on established theft deterrent tactics
  2. Maintain proper floor coverage and encourage staff to walk the floor regularly
  3. Use and maintain effective anti-theft security devices and systems

Download the full survey results here.

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