Loss prevention is a front-burner issue for businesses, especially for retail outlets. Retailers have seen an increase in shrinkage, which refers to the loss of products, primarily through customer and employee theft. Loss prevention managers help stem the tide of theft by applying the latest strategies to reduce shrinkage.
Becoming a successful loss prevention manager requires specialized training, knowledge, and skills. Earning a bachelor’s degree in the field prepares leaders in this critical and growing field. They develop expertise in topics ranging from security systems and risk management to criminal law and organizational behavior, all of which are directly applicable to a role in loss prevention.
They also play a crucial role in combating the rising tide of retail theft in recent years.
Challenges Facing Loss Prevention Managers
The recent statistics on shoplifting are alarming. According to data from Capital One, stores in the United States lost $86.6 billion in 2022. Projections indicate that number could rise to more than $115 billion by 2025.
About 67% of loss prevention managers employed by major retailers report moderate to significant increases in Organized Retail Crime (ORC), while a striking 80% predict the situation will worsen.
Among the most commonly pilfered goods are fashion items, arts and crafts, homewares, electronics, music, books, sports-related items, musical instruments, collectibles, antiques, toys, and baby items.
New challenges have emerged in light of these escalating statistics. During and following the peak months of the COVID-19 pandemic, shoplifting incidents rose substantially. Also, the surge in online retailers provides a platform for Organized Retail Crime (ORC) operations to sell stolen goods.
Industry surveys indicate a surge in threats made to retail store associates and, in some cases, actual instances of violence against them. Managers at leading retailers have stated that they are now prioritizing efforts to defend against incidents of violence, cyber-related threats, internal theft, gift card fraud, and return fraud.
How Loss Prevention Managers Differ From Security Managers
Loss prevention managers are different from security managers. Their job goes beyond setting up and managing security systems. They take a holistic view of all shrinkage-related issues and develop programs to combat all types of theft.
A loss prevention manager analyzes data, investigates incidents, and makes informed decisions to mitigate risks and losses. They understand the laws and regulations related to theft, fraud, and security.
Armed with effective communication skills, they work well with teams and interact with upper management, fellow managers, employees, and customers. They use these skills to help manage a team of security personnel and coordinate efforts to prevent losses.
Some of the duties of a loss prevention manager include developing and implementing related security and theft prevention. This may include protocols for employee training, visitor access, bag checks, and incident reporting.
Loss prevention managers also oversee security systems, including CCTV cameras, alarms, and access controls. They monitor these systems to detect any suspicious activities and respond promptly.
They also train employees on security awareness, theft detection, and proper response protocols. This education helps staff recognize suspicious behavior and respond appropriately to threats.
Loss prevention managers assess and implement physical security measures, such as secure entrances and exits, locks, alarms, and other deterrents to prevent unauthorized access or exit.
Other duties may include inventory management, ORC awareness, customer service and engagement, investigating incidents, collaborating with law enforcement, staying updated on security technology, data analysis and reporting, and emergency response planning.
NMU Global Campus Loss Prevention Management Degree
NMU Global Campus offers an online Bachelor of Science program in Loss Prevention Management led by experienced faculty members with a background in loss prevention. Students enrolled in this program gain comprehensive knowledge about current major threats in ORC and shoplifting, as well as advanced techniques for combating them.
Additionally, the program equips students with the skills to use analytics for making data-driven loss prevention decisions. The affordable, flexible online program allows students to pursue a bachelor’s degree while holding a full-time job.
Qualified loss prevention managers are expected to remain in high demand for the foreseeable future. Earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Loss Prevention Management can be a pivotal step toward establishing a successful career in this rapidly growing field.