Employees Should Be In Handcuffs

The Sun Times cover story on Sunday was about how the occurrence of “Five Finger” discounts is growing in tough economic times. The story dealt with measures that retail operations need to take to combat thieves and shoplifting. But since the story also reported that, so far this year, “Chicago thefts are down 2.4%,” who are the real perps? I researched to find the answer.The fact is that last year, thefts by employees of U.S. retail merchandise accounted for $15.9 billion, or 44 percent of theft losses at stores, more than shoplifting and vendor fraud combined. This figure is according to a survey released at the National Retail Federation (NRF) Loss Prevention conference in June. “While the economy plays a role in the amount of shoplifting around the country, these crimes are mostly the case of greed instead of need,” said NRF senior asset protection advisor Joe LaRocca. “People aren’t stealing to feed their families; they’re stealing iPods, handbags, and other discretionary items."For the second year in a row, both the apprehensions and recovery dollars from shoplifters and dishonest employees increased substantially. Shoplifting apprehensions and recovery dollars were up 9.16% and 7.69% respectively.” said Mark R. Doyle, President of Jack L. Hayes International (a loss prevention and inventory control consulting firm) "The numbers of shoplifters and dishonest employees being caught stealing by U.S. retailers continues to amaze us, and this is a much greater problem than many people realize. Retail theft drives higher prices for the consumer, hurts our economy, and forces store and/or business closings."Doyle also reported that on a per case average, dishonest employees steal a little over 6 times the amount stolen by shoplifters ($808.09 vs $132.91) and one in every 28.2 employees was apprehended for theft from their employer.The numbers prove that retail theft is mostly an inside job and is more greed than need. But we as consumers are the ones paying for the thievery at the cost of higher prices so retailers can recover their losses.This seems to be very unfair. Retailers cannot control employee theft so we are punished for it? The wrong people are obviously wearing the handcuffs.
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