STORES Magazine - February 2009 - (Page 57)

LPINFORMATION / ANTI-SHOPLIFTING Mall of Shame? Program seeks to reduce shoplifting by posting photos of the convicted BY DAVID P. SCHULZ aving your picture posted all over a mall may be great if you’re the employee of the month. You aren’t likely to be thrilled, however, if the photo is there because you’ve been convicted of shoplifting from one of the mall’s stores. H That’s just what happened during the recent holiday shopping season at the Staten Island Mall, the largest shopping center in New York City’s smallest borough. Concern about shoplifting always rises when the economic climate is depressed. Add in the fact that shoplifting also increases during the holiday selling season and there was a double-whammy facing retailers in the final quarter of 2008. Staten Island Mall made the front pages of the local tabloids when a woman who had been barred from the mall was charged with stealing designer sunglasses valued at more than $1,000. It turns out that the woman was the subject of a February 2005 “barring notice” obtained by mall management. In addition, her mother once fell into a decorative fountain at the mall while trying to elude security personnel who suspected her of shoplifting. Mother and daughter were alleged to have used, on more than one occasion, shopping bags and totes lined with duct tape, aluminum foil and foam to slip items past electronic article surveillance sensors at store entrances. All of this was too much for district attorney Daniel Donovan. “Shoplifting is not a victimless crime,” he says. “It impacts every business owner and cusWWW.STORES.ORG Dose of reality Using only photos (no names or other identification) was a conscious decision, Donovan says. “We took the effort not to stigmatize these people.” Donovan declined to use his office’s or the mall’s websites for the campaign because of the worldwide and almost timeless reach of the Internet. Still, he says, “the message is clear — you will be prosecuted” if you steal and the intent is to “offer a dose of reality to anyone contemplating shoplifting.” tomer, resulting in decreased store profits and higher prices for consumers.” What Donovan did was arrange to have digital advertising signs at the mall display photographs of persons who had been convicted more than once of shoplifting at the mall. The anti-shoplifting campaign which began a week before Thanksgiving and ran through the end of the year. It included a 15-second message featuring mug shots of the shoplifters that ran every six minutes on 11 electronic billboards, in rotation with pitches for merchandise, movies and medical services. The D.A. says no taxpayer money was used in the effort; it was funded through revenues seized from criminals as part of his office’s asset forfeiture program. No mall or merchant funds were used, either, and mall manager James Easley appeared at the launch of the campaign, as did representatives from anchor stores such as Macy’s, Sears and StORES JCPenney. David P. Schulz, a New York-based writer and editor, reports on U.S. and foreign retailers for several publications. STORES / FEBRUARY 2009 57 http://WWW.STORES.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of STORES Magazine - February 2009

STORES Magazine - February 2009
Executive Editor's Page
President's Page
Are You a Pusher or a Puller?
What Shoppers Think
Online Retail Satisfaction
10 Things You May Have Missed
Numbers Worth Counting
Full Price/Markdown
Retail People
Cover Story - Something’s Got to Give
First Look
Online Partners
Inventory Systems
Drug Store Systems
Business Intelligence
Inventory Managment
Online Marketing
Supply Chain - Better Data, Better Decisions
Returns Management - Identifying Fraud
Data Security - Securing Intimate Data
Anti-Shoplifting - Mall of Shame?
Risk Management - Securing Consumer Confidence
Loeb Retail letter
ARTS Update
Point of View
NRF News
Retail Crossword
Retail Industry Calendar
End Cap

STORES Magazine - February 2009