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Study: Retail theft slips as security tools improve

The growing worry regarding shoplifting, burglary and internal theft has led more retail decision-makers to implement integrated security systems capable of deterring crime. These efforts have apparently been paying off, as a new study by the University of Florida revealed that theft as a percentage of revenue in 2011 equaled 1.41 percent, down from 1.49 percent in 2010.

The National Retail Security Survey 2011 also revealed this reduction meant a $2.6 billion decline in losses, suggesting that innovative security and alarm systems are helping prevent crime and saving companies money.

"This year's decrease in retail theft is evidence retailers are implementing and updating loss prevention strategies in order to reduce shrinkage," University of Florida criminologist Richard Hollinger said. "Furthermore, the decrease can be attributed to the enhancements and improvements in both loss prevention technologies and programs."

The survey found that employee theft represented the most significant portion of losses in 2011, accounting for more than $15 billion. Shoplifting accounted for the second largest loss of revenue, as these incidents cost more than $12 billion for the year. However, the deployment of innovative security tools helped organizations deter a large number of situations.

Some of the most commonly deployed tools were radio frequency identification and video surveillance systems and analytics. As a result, retailers could monitor products by collecting high-quality data and leveraging incident reporting solutions that could establish trends to prevent similar situations from happening in the future.

"Clearly security solutions are proving to be a solid investment and have saved retailers billions of dollars in losses every year," physical security expert Michael Creedon said. "There are a number of technologies and services available today that can help retailers continue to prevent theft, decrease shrinkage and track merchandise effectively."

According to a separate report by Memoori, the physical security market is forecast to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 3.7 percent over the next five years. The most commonly purchased solutions will be video surveillance, intruder alarms and access control systems capable of monitoring and deterring unauthorized individuals from entering the premises.

While the overall market is relatively fragmented, the growing demand for IP-based tools will lead to an increased deployment of integrated security systems, capable of converging multiple appliances into a single platform for easy monitoring and use.

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