What Are the Theft Prevention Systems at Department Stores Called?


Quick Answer

Though each department store company uses different tools and practices to reduce product theft, many incorporate a system known as electronic article surveillance to prevent unauthorized removal of merchandise from the store. This system includes special tags on each product and a series of sensors on the exits that sound an alarm if the sensor passes through.

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Full Answer

Many department stores implement numerous tactics as part of a loss prevention strategy, with electronic article surveillance being a common component. In this system, employees place special sensors on the products within the store, which may appear as a flexible sticker on books or packages or larger tags pinned into clothing or other fabric items. The store places special sensors at each exit, and in some cases, the entry into bathrooms, some of which may appear hidden or as larger scanners. Employees deactivate or remove these sensors when the customer purchases the item, meaning that an active sensor passing through the scanner sets off the stores alarm system.

Some stores also employ loss prevention associates who focus primarily on monitoring potential shoplifters and responding to theft incidents. These agents may stay in a back room and monitor security cameras to look for shoplifters or roam the store observing customer and responding to feedback from other associates. It is also common for department stores to feature plain clothes employees monitoring the store, attempting to look like regular customers instead of official employees.

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