Situational Crime Prevention at a Local Starbucks Store
SituationalCrime Prevention at a Local Starbucks Store
Thelocal Starbucks store is experiencing a repeat theft problem wherebyitems on display intended for sale are being stolen. The followingfive recommendations will serve to interrupt the opportunity for thiscrime at the store.
Increasethe Effort of Stealing – Exits surveillance
Merchandiseelectronic tagging is recommended for discouraging the shopliftersfrom stealing items intended for sale by the store. Electronictagging uses an electronic tag fitted to items (often referred to aselectronic article surveillance) to deter theft. Electronic tags arenow widely used in the retail industry to deter thieves fromshoplifting. The surveillance tags are fixed to the items and areremoved or deactivated by the store attendant only when the item hasbeen properly purchased. The tags work in tandem with detectionsystems placed at the exit points whose alarm goes off when someoneattempts to get out of the store with a deactivated tag. This impliesthat shoplifters will find it hard or impossible to sneak stolenitems out of the store and their only option would be to purchasethem. Since the technology has been in successful use in the retailindustry since it when it was first applied to the apparel stores tocontrol the movement of apparels, it will be most appropriateintroduce it to the local store. Placing a large warning sign toincrease the awareness of thieves that the products in the store havebeen tagged and the alarm will go off if they attempted to steal theitems, will serve as a deterrent to the shoplifters (Smith andClarke, 2012).
Increasethe Risks – Increase Intentional Surveillance
Itis also advisable that the company consider enhancing intentionalsurveillance. According to Schneider (2014), intentional surveillancerefers to the activities or technologies in whose primary function isto observe or watch out disorderly or even criminal acts as a way ofensuring that those involved are arrested or discouraged. Inparticular, the company could make use of surveillance cameras suchas the Closed Circuit TV (CCTV) cameras in its stalls, which not onlyshows footages of the criminals, but also discourages people to tryinvading the premises to commit crime. In this way, it is clear thatincreasing the surveillance will also increase the fear among thecriminals that they are likely to be caught soon after committing thecrime. Increased surveillance intimidates the offenders one way orthe other leading to reduced incidences of theft. Intentionalsurveillance can be achieved through installation of securitymirrors, CCTV, and hiring security guards. The store might not bekeen on hiring a security guard out of fear of increased recurrentexpenditure given its small size. Consequently, there is growingconsensus that although the original intention was to deter criminalactivities and help in policing, the benefits of CCTV surveillancefades over time. However, it is agreed that the site of CCTVdiscourages would-be offenders from attempting criminal activities.
Reducethe Rewards – Ink Merchandise Tags
Thepurpose of stealing for most shoplifters might not be for personaluse of the items, but to sell them. Reselling stolen items ofteninvolves removing identification tags from the items to conceal theirsource. An ink tag is a small disc device that is installed on anitem to minimize tampering with the item. Filled with ink, the forceapplied to remove tag punctures the disc thereby causing the ink tospill and mess the item. The ink stain on the item provides proof toa third party willing to buy the item that item was tampered with andit was most likely stolen. Implementation of ink merchandise tags isone of the best ways of deterring thieves from taking items fromStarbucks illegally. In addition, these tags are likely to play asupplementary role to the merchandise electronic tags. For example,if the exit surveillance system fails to work maybe because ofconfiguration problems or power outage, the ink tags will helpprevent the crime – the thief well knowing that he/ she cannotremove the ink tag without messing up the item with the ink. Thismeasure will go a long way in reducing the rewards for the thief andmake it less attractive to steal (Clarke, 1997 Smith and Clarke,2012).
ReduceProvocations – Expanded Seating to Reduce Crowding
Oneof the factors that reduce commission of a crime is understood to bereducing provocations within the target area. In the context ofStarbucks, expanding the seating arrangement within the store is alikely deterrent to the crime. Agoraphobia – fear of large spaces –is a deterrent to crime because some criminals fear large spaces.Large spaces often subject the offenders to the likelihood of beingspotted during the shoplifting. Consequently, thieves who fear largespaces out of fear of being spotted or social victimization mightprefer crowded stores to stores with large spaces. Therefore,expanded seating within the store might create psychological tensionin thieves and decide not to steal after all. Indeed, customers inexpanded seating can spot someone who is trying to shoplift from thestore and help store staff to apprehend the criminal. Starbucks canalter the aura of the store by expanding the seating or reducing thecrowding in order to reduce provocations on the side of theshoplifters (Clarke, 1997 Smith and Clarke, 2012). Shoplifters mightprefer crowded stores to steal items rather than expanded spaceswhere they are subjected to a wider scrutiny.
Finally,Starbucks can avoid incidences of shoplifting by removing excuses(Clarke, 1997 Smith and Clarke, 2012). In this element ofsituational crime prevention, the store can utilize the power ofsignage to warn criminals that they are being watched and changetheir behavior. For example, displaying words like “shoplifting isstealing” works on the shoplifter’s psychic in various ways.There could be shoplifters who believe that shoplifting is notstealing and that their actions are not criminal. Shoplifters who donot know that they are stealing might also not be happy being brandedas thieves or knowing that they are indeed thieves. If suchshoplifter comes across such words, he or she is most likely tochange their mind about their intentions. Signage is a powerful toolfor warning offenders to keep away from their activities within thestore or intended area of crime. In situational crime prevention, anemphasis is placed on the use of warning signs and words in order tohelp the criminal to remove excuses for committing the crime. Itstimulates the conscience of the criminal to be aware that what theyare doing is not good and that they should change their ways orbehavior. Some of the words that could be used to stimulate theconscience of offenders include “shoplifters are being watched”,“shoplifters are enemies of the society” etc.
Clarke,R. and Eck, J., (2005).Crime Analysis for Problem Solvers in 60 Small Steps, Office ofCommunity Oriented Policing, Washington,DC
Clarke,R., (1997). Introduction,in Situational Crime Prevention: Successful Case Studies,Clarke, R.V., Ed., 2nd edn., Harrow and Heston, Albany, New York
Felson,M., & Clarke, R. V. (1997). The ethics of situational crimeprevention. RationalChoice and Situational Crime Prevention: Theoretical Foundations. NewYork:Ashgate.
Schneider,S. (2014). CrimePrevention: Theory and Practice.New York: CRC Books.
Smith,M. and Clarke, R., (2012). Situationalcrime prevention: Classifying techniques using ‘good enough’theory,in The Oxford Handbook of Crime Prevention, Welsh, B.C. andFarrington, D.P., Eds. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 291–315.
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