​Why Low Shrink Supermarkets Track Theft

by Andrew Hoeft | Dec 29, 2016 12:00:00 AM

Shoplifting happens in every retail store leaving remnants that pepper aisles floors and product shelves. Empty packages are found around the store after shoplifters came in and removed the contents, leaving the evidence behind.



There are two main reasons shoplifters leave empty packages:

  • The shoplifter may think it has a RFID tag that’s will trigger the alarm when they walk out. They take it out of the package so they don’t set off the alarm and get caught.
  • The shoplifter wants to reduce the size of the item, so it’s easier to conceal on the way out.

The easiest way to catch a shoplifter post-event is through security camera footage. You can investigate using an in-store camera system to look for that item or the shoplifter that left the empty package. An experienced loss prevention team can usually find the identity of the shoplifter by using parking lot cameras to catch a license plate for an out-of-store authority to investigate.

But what about actually preventing theft? What can we do to prevent future shoplifters or the notorious repeat shoplifters?

Tracking Theft

By recording when you’re finding the packages, not only the date but also the time and location, you’re able to find trends to when, where, and why it’s happening.

The ideal scenario when working with multiple stores in and outside of a given supermarkets franchise, is having a centralized location for the data to track any universal trends. By tying these occurrences together, each LP personnel could see the trend better and prevent theft with proper deterrents.

Here are some scenarios where this data makes a real difference:

  • Shoplifters will sometimes go from one store to the next, stealing the same items in the same way. Seeing a spree of similar products stolen from multiple stores might be just enough to keep a more watchful eye out for this shoplifter the next time they enter one of your stores.
  • Identify high theft categories by tracking the types of products stolen. If a security camera is not watching one of these areas, add one. You may also want to look into shelf-level prevention methods such as “anti-sweep” shelving that requires items to be removed one at a time rather.


By tracking and identifying issues causing loss early, the ability to correct issues increases and puts controls in place to eliminate the problem from becoming consistent.

The overall objective of tracking is to help the previous unknown data points around our loss to become known. To do this effectively, LP and store management should record every empty packages found and notating when, where, and what will go a long way in deterring theft and ultimately driving down store shrink.

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