Situational Crime Prevention Tecxhniques and Occupational Crime: Do Targeting Hardening Strategies Reduce Rates of Employee Theft and Shoplifting?

Jason L. Davis, University of Florida
Richard Hollinger, University of Florida

Within the retail industry, companies and their loss prevention departments are constantly implementing mechanisms to prevent financial loss including employee theft and shoplifting. A common strategy employed by companies is the use of "target hardening" security systems and procedures intended to prevent the occurrence of financial crimes. For instance, companies will use electronic controls, alarms, closed circuit television (CCTV), and so forth to deter the occurrence of criminal acts. In large part, such practices are based on situational crime prevention strategies that seek to reduce opportunities for engaging in crime (See Clarke, 1983;1995). Based primarily on rational choice assertions, situational prevention techniques attempt to: a) increase the effort associated with a specific crime, b) increase the risks associated with engaging in a particular crime, and/or c) reduce the rewards linked to specific crimes. When potential risks or obstacles such as target hardening devices outweigh the benefits, it is assumed a rational person will refrain from engaging in crime. Relying on data collected from the 2001 National Retail Security Survey (NRSS), this research attempts to examine the extent to which deterrence mechanisms are correlated with the incidence or rate of employee theft and shoplifting.

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Updated 05/20/2006