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July 21, 2017

Retail Loss Prevention Conference Yields Fresh Insights, New Technologies


By Patrick Shay, NSSF Director, Retail Services

Right before the long July 4 holiday weekend, I and NSSF Retail Security Consultant Team Members John Clark and Bill Napier, LPC, attended the National Retail Federation (NRF) 2017 Loss Prevention Conference and Expo in Washington, D.C. With firearms retail store break-ins and burglaries on the rise in many areas of the country, store security has been a top priority for us here at NSSF this year, and we were anxious to see what new tools this conference would offer our members.

Progress Against the Criminal Factor

We did not come away from the conference disappointed.

Throughout our two days at the conference, we were able to meet one-on-one with several key members of our industry who are on also on the front lines when it comes to staying two steps ahead of today’s ever-savvier criminal element. One of those was NSSF Member David Lund, Vice President of Loss Prevention for Dick’s Sporting Goods. Lund is Loss Prevention Certified (LPC) and a Certified Forensic Interviewer (CFI), both certifications obtained through the International Association of Interviewers, and is a charter member of the Loss Prevention Foundation (LPF) and currently serves on its board of directors. LPF is an internationally recognized organization that provides academic and credentialing for retail loss prevention practitioners. Lund told us he was appreciative of the NSSF and its efforts as the trade association for the firearms industry and its assistance in helping improve security for all its members.

Next we stopped by the Loss Prevention Research Council (LPRC) booth and caught up with Dr. Read Hayes to discuss the council’s current research projects and how NSSF, an LPRC member can provide additional support to these efforts.

“We’re excited about the solutions our combined research efforts can produce,” explained Napier, who is also active with the Violent Crime Working Group on behalf of NSSF. “Criminals and their tactics evolve nearly as fast as crime-prevention technologies these days. They are savvy, and many are practiced and patient at what they do, striking when an opportunity will yield them the greatest reward with a minimal risk of getting caught. We’re discovering through research how they use today’s technology to succeed — we’re learning every day how to think like a criminal — and that provides the avenues toward improved prevention.”

Bill and I also had a chance to sit down with Bob Moraca Vice President of Loss Prevention for the NRF and delve into the details of NRF’s RISE Up program. RISE Up is designed to give front-line retail staff a way to educate and credential themselves in various retail processes, including loss prevention and security, providing pathways for a long and prosperous career in the retail world. After that meeting, we visited the NRF Fusion Center to be brought up to speed on the latest information on private/public partnership between retailers and law enforcement to combat organized retail crime.

After our meeting with Moraca, Bill and John attended a meeting of the ASIS International, Retail Loss Prevention Council where Bill is the council representative to the Critical Infrastructure Working Group (CWIG). ASIS International is the leading organization for security professionals worldwide.

“We had a number of takeaways from this meeting that we’re looking forward to sharing with NSSF members in the months to come,” said Clark. “This association is crucial to discovering what’s going on in other types of retail establishments when it comes to loss prevention and crime and that keeps us from getting to siloed in our own work; you tend to think that what’s happening in your industry is only happening in your industry. But that’s usually far from the truth. While different retail genres do have unique security issues, the challenges they have in common make up a much bigger list. Our work with ASIS and the CWIG is crucial to discovering what’s working and not working with others in their crime prevention efforts.”

Technology Central 

While the educational session we attended and the meetings we had yielded dozens of ideas and lessons that will benefit our members, I can’t say we weren’t excited to see the “toy” portion of the conference.

Let me tell you, if you’re still tickled by the miracle of the iPhone, you’d be downright dazzled by the security technology coming to market. Take, for instance, Click-iT Labeling Technologies which provides a way to “organically” label firearms, which can help identify burglars through an organic residue that is placed upon the firearm, as well as develop a digital fingerprint to identify potential thieves before a break-in occurs. Then there was 7P Solutions, which provides GPS tracking theft deterrents to protect firearms in transit, as well as a company that’s developed social media software that works to identify potential threats to FFLs and stop break in before they occur.

Of course, your basics were covered, but they were anything but the same old thing. Protos Security gave us great insight about the value of armed guard services during an emergency and in the role of after break-in support. Se-Cure Controls is offering custom cable solutions that we were very impressed with, and we saw a wide variety of sensormatic technologies applied to tagging, door hardware providers new crash bar solutions, and some very advanced security hardware that can upgrade just about any retail facility. We also met with our NSSF Member Benefit Affinity partners Instakey, iTech and Vector, and we think you’ll be very impressed with the cutting-edge security solutions they’re providing.

We’ll be expanding on many of these ideas and new technologies in the months to come. In the meantime, we strongly encourage you to visit the completely redesigned www.nssf.org, and click on the “Retailer” heading at the very top of the home page. There you’ll find a new menu dedicated to Retail Operations, including Security & Technology. Remember, NSSF’s Security Consultant Team is always ready to do an on-site audit of your retail facility to help you discover vulnerabilities and uncover solutions to them. Questions? Please contact me directly at pshay@nssf.org.