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According to a 2010 survey, by a leading loss prevention and inventory shrinkage control consulting firm, dishonest employees steal 5.9 times more than shoplifters which equates to an average of $639.99 per crime.  This number is overwhelming as compared to the average crime per shoplifter at $108.46.  This is certainly no surprise since employees have the in-depth knowledge of the whereabouts of the highest value merchandise, along with the in-depth knowledge of security systems and store protocols.
 
According to the study, there were over 1 million individuals apprehended in 2010 by just 23 major retailers at 19,104 stores which represented an excellent cross-section of the United States.  Individuals and employees within these retailers stole over $7 billion dollars total.  Of the $7 billion stolen, only $148 million or 2.6% was recovered by these retailers.  This is a huge hit to the retail sector as many struggle to survive in a sluggish economy.
 
Here are some additional employee retail theft statistics revealed by the 2010 survey:
Comparison - One out of every 33.2 employees was apprehended for theft from their employer in 2010 (based on comparison data of over 2.8 million employees).
Apprehensions - Survey participants apprehended 69,373 dishonest employees in 2010, down 0.4% from 2009.
Recoveries - Dollars recovered from dishonest employee apprehensions totaled over $44 million in 2010, a decrease of 12.7% from 2009.


The fifth edition of the Global Retail Theft Barometer has just been published by the Centre for Retail Research and reveals a 6.6% increase over previous years in overall retail shrinkage and hit its highest mark since 2007.  The study attributes shoplifting, employee theft, supplier fraud, administrative errors and organized retail crime as the combined cause of $119 billion in total global retail shrinkage for 2011 as reported from 43 countries.  This staggering number equates to over 1.45% of total sales as compared to last year’s study of 1.36%.  The United States rounded out the top ten of highest reporting countries at 1.59% of total loss.

Here are the top ten countries which reported the highest loss rates:
India 2.30% Mexico 1.68% Russia 1.74% Thailand 1.64%
Morocco 1.72% Turkey 1.63% South Africa 1.71% Malaysia 1.62%
Brazil 1.69% United States 1.59%

Globally, the grocery industry continues to get hit hard in overall shrinkage in today’s economy with the following product areas seeing the highest losses:
Cheese 3.09% Fresh Meat 2.79% Candy, Confectionary, Chocolates 2.78% Luxury Cooked Meats 2.74% Alcohol/Liquor/Whisky 2.47%
High Quality Seafood/Fish 2.46% Infant Formulas 2.33%
Spices/Seasoning/Vanilla 2.02%

Total shrinkage varied by country and also retailer; however, the hardest hit vertical markets included the following:
Outerwear 2.94%
Apparel/Clothing and Fashion/Accessories 1.87%
Cosmetics/Perfume/Health and Beauty/Pharmacy 1.79%
Footwear 0.99%

Employee Retail Theft Surpassed Shoplifters

Employee dishonesty and theft contributed towards $41.65 billion in total loss or 35% of the survey’s total shrinkage number of $119 billion.  Employee theft in North America (44.1%) and also Latin America (42.6%) surpassed shoplifters according to the survey.  The average value of merchandise stolen by employees was more than eight times that stolen by shoplifters.  These global figures are consistent with other studies produced in the United States that support higher dollar value items were stolen by internal staff members over shoplifters.  “The cost to retailers is even higher if you factor in the impact of criminal gangs, growing levels of violence against employees and customers, and the links between retail crime and drugs, fraud and extortion,” said Professor Joshua Bamfield, Director of the Center For Retail Theft Research and author of the study. “Moreover, retail crime on average cost families in the 43 countries surveyed an extra $200 on their shopping bill, up from $186 last year. In the U.S., that figure was $435.”
Retail Employee Background Checks 
Employment Background Eye In The Sky, LLC work with retailers to provide a full range of comprehensive and legally compliant employment background check solutions to help retailers prevent employee theft and reduce the risks and liability of a bad hire.

Here are a few tips for U.S. retailers when conducting criminal background checks:

    ▪    Properly Identify your subject up-front to be sure you have the right candidate when conducting a background check.  Background screening professionals use electronic database information that helps them connect the dots when identifying aliases and other names that may not be disclosed by the subject.  This is especially true for criminals trying to hide identity and prior criminal activity;
    ▪    Conduct a criminal background check where the subject has lived and worked using all disclosed and developed names and addresses for an extensive period of time (typically 7 years, if not more);
    ▪    Search criminal court records within county, state and federal courts using information as described above.  Utilize national electronic criminal history to help fill-in the gaps and conduct a criminal search with a national and international scope;
    ▪    Search numerous government agencies list to be sure that your candidate is not currently being pursued by law enforcement agencies or may have an outstanding warrant for arrest;
    ▪    Verify prior employment to help identify any prior activity of theft, fraud or performance related issues.
    ▪    Conduct employee drug testing to ensure that your employees don't add to additional security and safety risks.