A loss prevention agent or an asset protection officer are other terms for a store detective. He or she usually watches customers to see if there is any evidence of shoplifting. Shoplifting is stealing: shoplifters take merchandise without paying for it, resulting in lost sales and profits for the store. The store is required to pay wholesale prices for the items it sells, and if the goods are stolen rather than purchased, the retailer loses money. A store detective aids in the prevention of shoplifting attempting to recover items before shoplifters remove them from the store.
Store detectives are not the same as guards, despite the fact that they work as part of a store’s security. Security guards are frequently dressed in uniform and work in full view of customers and employees. In most cases, a store detective operates undercover among both employees and customers. While walking through a store, store detectives may pretend to be customers in order to spot suspicious activity.
A store detective keeps an eye out for people who try to stuff an item into their bag or pocket that they haven’t paid for. Because shoplifters usually try to steal items quickly, store detectives need good eyesight. Some shoplifters steal clothing bringing it into the store’s changing rooms and stuffing it into a bag they brought with them. Store detectives can search bags to recover stolen items in many cases, but they must report the crime to the police.
Customers who aren’t stealing don’t like being accused of shoplifting, and this can lead to a negative customer experience if loss prevention personnel falsely accuse a shopper. A store detective must be precise in determining whether or not a customer entered the changing room with more items than he or she left with. He or she also keeps an eye out for signs such as a bulging purse or bag that wasn’t there before a customer entered the changing room. However, the customer could have put his or her own coat in the bag, so store detectives must always be certain that the customer is not shoplifting before approaching and accusing them of theft.
The store manager is usually in charge of loss prevention agents or detectives. They may work part-time and travel to various retail locations for a large corporation. A security company might hire a store detective. He or she may have previously worked as a uniformed security guard before becoming involved in the undercover protection of store assets.
Asset protection officers or store detectives may secretly observe employee behavior in addition to watching customers shop in stores while looking for shoplifters. They can keep track of money in the cash register and observe employees impersonating customers. When a store manager suspects a coworker of stealing money or merchandise, he or she may be unable to identify the perpetrator, whereas an undercover loss prevention detective is more likely to be able to do so.