How retail stores can help law enforcement

I’ve written before about the importance of building collaborative relationships with law enforcement – frequent communications, comprehensive incident reports, and partnership meetings are all aspects.

But, from a law enforcement perspective, here are some ways stores can do their part to help law enforcement officers and ORC investigators fight back and prosecute with successful retail crimes in their community.

Educate on the importance of your protocol

First and foremost, ORC teams must prepare their store managers and retail employees for the possibility of retail theft. Explain to them when this may happen and what it may look like, and train them in your security protocols and procedures. If you have a concrete plan in place and your store manager is properly trained, they can reinforce these protocols with their staff and help them improve in the event of future incidents.

Beyond that, educate your employees on the reasons behind your company protocol. Employees who understand the importance of rules and regulations, such as keeping themselves and others safe, will be able to act within company policy when an incident occurs.

Personnel who understand the importance of accurately reporting a crime will also be better mentally prepared to remember and record the necessary details of an incident in order for it to be properly reported and charged by law enforcement. Staff members who do their part for their community and collect data for their local officers will improve relationships with law enforcement and achieve better results.

Attention to detail

There are a few key pieces of information that are often overlooked and that law enforcement needs from retailers to fully report a crime.

In an incident report, it is extremely important to document exactly the type of merchandise stolen and to be able to indicate an appropriate dollar amount for that merchandise. Collecting information about stolen items can help officers and investigators identify a criminal and possibly link that incident to other criminal activity. This can help identify a series of crimes or organized crimes in the retail industry and escalate the case from a single offense to a larger offence.

Documenting violence and property damage can also change the nature of a crime. Did the thief smash a sign, smash a window or overtake an employee? Documenting even small but relevant details about a crime can distinguish a petty theft from a robbery or a felony. Such information makes a big difference for law enforcement, strengthens relationships between retailers and their local agents, and strengthens the commitment of law enforcement and prosecutors.

Lead by example in your neighborhood

Retailers in the same neighborhood have a responsibility to each other to be good neighbors and to work together to fight and prevent retail crime.

Reporting a crime accurately and in a timely manner creates more engagement in your neighborhood and builds better relationships between your retail community and law enforcement. Reporting a crime in your neighborhood will encourage other stores to follow suit, especially large retailers. Large retailers can lead by example by collaborating more effectively with law enforcement and stopping crime before it spreads to their neighboring retailers.


Jimmie Hernandez

Jimmie Hernandez is a Security and Law Enforcement Professional, and Senior Advisor at ALTO USA.