Retail Loss Prevention involves significantly more than the apprehension of shoplifters. It is a sophisticated, highly dynamic field. “Loss prevention” and “asset protection” is shifting to “asset and profit protection”. While combatting Organized Retail Crime (ORC), which traditionally has been highly organized shoplifting rings, is a concern of retailers and law enforcement at every level; the retail scene involves much more. Product counterfeiting, burglary, robbery, embezzlement, information theft, fraud and sex crimes are just some of the things Retail Loss Prevention personnel must deal with. Safety, crowd management and VIP protection are other concerns. Retailers play a key role Homeland Security and supply chain management. They have warehouses, trucks and distribution centers.
As the retail sector has changed to fully embrace commerce through the world-wide web, so too has those who might prey such opportunities. E-commerce security efforts provide a final assurance resource to preserve the integrity of the buyer and seller relationship. Fraudulent payment methods, phony customer accounts, and vendor product fraud are just a few of the activities that must be interdicted. Fulfillment operations security has developed over the last number of years to ensure the protection of product, process, and employees in sprawling warehousing, order preparation, and shipping operations. The scale of such effort is most readily apparent in light of some fulfillment centers greater than a million square feet with nearly two-thousand employees. This is a rapidly evolving field that offers opportunity for advancement for those with energy.
Careers is Retail Loss Prevention can be quite rewarding. Those in management above store level (district, region) are well compensated. In addition, retailers often pay bonuses on top of salaries. They also offer substantial discounts for employees. One must, however be ready, willing and able to travel and relocate. More importantly; adapting to rapidly shifting market conditions is a growing concern. One may be laid off if a store chain closes or is purchased.
Part-time or seasonal employment in Retail Loss Prevention is a common entry point. Note that many security, investigative and law enforcement managers began their careers as part-time Loss Prevention agents. Retail is an excellent training ground for investigative skills such as interviewing, case preparation, intelligence, etc. There is also increasing use of technology which helps to expand one’s skill set.
The International Foundation for Protection Officers’ Entry Level Protection Officer program covers a range of topics including Retail Loss Prevention.
The Loss Prevention Foundation educates and certifies retail loss prevention and asset protection professionals. It offers two levels of professional certification and has an Academic Retail partnership initiative.
LPJobs.com publishes position openings throughout the US from major retailers.
Gus Downing publishes an outstanding newsletter concerning the Retail Loss Prevention sector.