A few months ago, a Walmart in Rogersville, TN, caught an employee stealing video games from the electronics department. The thief was seen, on camera, stealing the games in a secure, employee-only area of the store.
When approached with video evidence, he admitted to stealing nearly $1,400 worth of games and even returning some of them for Walmart gift cards.
This gamer certainly wasn’t the first or last person to steal from his employer. In fact, some studies estimate that 75% of employees have stolen at least once from their own companies. In the U.S., employee theft accounts for 42.7% of inventory shrinkage — considerably more than shoplifting, administrative error, and vendor fraud.
All in all, employees steal $50 billion worth of cash and products from their employees every single year. To put that number in perspective, $50 billion is more than the net worth of 108 countries.
Fortunately, large retail companies like Walmart have a number of systems in place to prevent theft, including: bar codes on every product, greeters at every door, and security cameras (CCTV) at every aisle. These systems are less intended to actually catch a thief in the act than they are to prevent theft in the first place.
Security cameras in particular are a friendly reminder, to customers and employees, that their actions can and will have consequences.
For whatever reason, CCTV footage has been stereotyped as grainy and low-quality. Probably because, for a long time, that’s exactly what it was. But new security systems — like the one used at the Rogersville Walmart — allow businesses to monitor their stores with clarity and vigilance.
When the police request footage from a particular date and time, loss prevention specialists can easily pull high-quality footage from every angle in the store. It’s an important and increasingly useful tool in preventing and prosecuting retail theft.