From The Editor | April 21, 2011

Can We Stop Shoplifters Before They Start?

Source: Innovative Retail Technologies
Serving Customers In The Eye Of The Storm

By Matt Pillar, editor in chief

New NASP program shifts focus from rehabilitation to prevention.

If understanding shoplifter behavior is the key to shoplifting prevention, the work conducted by the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention (NASP) is something we should all support. NASP develops shoplifting prevention programs that are based on hard research into shoplifting drivers and trends. Its efforts depend on collaboration with law enforcement, retailers, criminal justice professionals, and stakeholders in crime prevention (i.e. the vendor community).

If you're not familiar with NASP, it's important to step back in time for a moment to consider the organization's roots. While most associations and organizations in the retail LP community are characterized by a hard-nosed charter to thwart retail crime for economic reasons — and rightfully so, given the far reaching economic implications of retail crime — NASP was borne of a more compassionate ilk. After witnessing so many accounts of the personal destruction a shoplifting apprehension and rap can have on an individual, long-time retail LP director Peter Berlin let his compassion get the best of him in 1977. He founded a non-profit organization called Shoplifters Anonymous that sought first to understand, then to help reform, the shoplifter. The shoplifter research and court-sanctioned rehabilitation programs Berlin developed were the groundwork for today's NASP, which has provided shoplifting rehabilitation programs to more than 200,000 offenders to date.

Recently, NASP has focused its efforts on stemming the tide of the juvenile shoplifting epidemic. One of its core programs, the Youth Educational Shoplifting Program (Y.E.S. Program), is credited with the lowest reported recidivism rate for programs of its kind. But while the Y.E.S. Program is a recognized authority on rehabilitation on its own, a new partnership with ebay finds NASP taking even more careful aim at youth offenders.

The ebay partnership is important and timely, given recent youth online fencing activity that could be second only to ORC in terms of volume. For its part, ebay has a vested interest in efforts to combat online fencing on its own sites, or risk the public persecution and seedy reputation suffered by the likes of Craigslist.org. It sees the partnership as a way of influencing the ORC offenders of tomorrow while there's still time.

Noted LP professional Paul Jones, Global Director of Asset Protection at ebay, recently lauded the NASP "Say No To Shoplifting" initiative, and provides more detail into the program's intent, in a commentary you can read here.

Learn more about the important work of NASP at www.shopliftingprevention.org, or contact Development Officer Barbara Staib at 516-932-0165 to find out how you can support its mission.