Shoplifting is a minor offence committed by unscrupulous customers who steal food, cosmetics and perfumes, clothing and, of course, alcohol from the store shelves. However, according to the US National Association for Shoplifting Prevention, the scale of these offenses is far from minor.
Stores in the US lose over $ 13 billion worth of products every year, which is about $ 35 million daily.
Furthermore, according to American statistics, 1 out of 11 people commit petty theft close to their home. At the same time, only 1 out of 48 shoplifters are caught stealing, and only half of them go to the police for this offence.*
The situation in Russia is also far from ideal. Supermarkets and stores lose 1−2% of their annual turnover due to theft, and the final costs are very likely to be taken into account in the price of goods, falling on the shoulders of honest customers.
A typical shoplifter in Russia is a young man, 20−35 years old, usually working with accomplices. Women are also seen committing petty thefts, although to a lesser extent and mostly at perfume shops. We have already written about the 5 most popular products among shoplifters in the stores of a large Russian retailer.
Most shoplifters probably consider what they’re doing as nothing but a little prank. But in reality, this is a serious crime and the law of the Russian Federation stipulates severe penalties for shoplifting. If the cost of stolen goods is under 1000 rubles, then the offender is a subject to administrative measures, but if this amount is exceeded, the shoplifter faces criminal prosecution. The thing is, it is difficult to prove the fact of theft for the administration of retail outlets, because the security service does not have the right to inspect customers and their personal belongings without their voluntary consent.
Luckily, there is an effective tool for shoplifting elimination. It comes in the form of facial biometrics-based software for retailers, which helps to deal with shoplifting. Over the past few years, the system has gained great popularity among Russian retailers and continues to spread rapidly in retail chains thanks to the word of mouth within the professional retailer community. This software shows high efficiency results and quickly pays off the implementation costs.
The basic principle is to use biometrics to recognize the faces of shoplifters in the video stream from store surveillance cameras and then add them to the monitoring blacklist.
Upon the initial theft, the offender’s face may not be found in the database. But, as we know, the probability of shoplifter’s return is very high, about 50%. If he appears again, the store’s security service will receive an instant notification about an unscrupulous buyer. Employees are then able to closely monitor his behavior and prevent theft. Convincing a shopper to return stolen goods is much easier when there is a video recording of the crime committed.
The word of mouth works not only among retailers, such information spreads quickly among freeloaders as well. So, in the near future there will be less and less people deciding to act so recklessly in a store with video surveillance. Therefore, the technology of facial biometrics also serves as a mean of petty theft prevention.