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Internal theft remains a problem for retailers


By a nearly 3-to-1 margin, retailers say that internal theft is more extensive than external theft at their establishments, according to a new survey conducted by

“It’s interesting to me that about half the respondents view their POS system as a means of theft prevention,” said Craig Aberle, publisher of, who designed the survey. “Yet, theft continues to be a rampant problem among retailers.”

Internal theft is the major source of theft for 71.4% of the retailers surveyed, compared with external theft at 28.6%. Loss prevention technology of some kind is used at 83.3% of the respondents’ stores, with the same percentage having self-checkout.

Aberle also pointed out an apparent contradiction among retailers about how the recession affects theft at their stores.

“By a margin of 2-to-1, store owners felt that there was less theft today than a decade ago,” Aberle said. “We had a recession in 2002, but not nearly as bad as the current one.”

CCTV cameras are installed at the stores of 57% of the recipients, all of whom believe that these cameras have an impact on theft. These same recipients hang the cameras both over the checkout and facing the door. Fewer respondents (42.9%) hang the cameras on the wall facing the checkout or in other parts of the store (28.6%).

Sweethearting or deliberate scan avoidance at the checkout were problems for 40% of responders, while 50% have experienced bar code fraud.

The recession brings more theft at their stores, according to 60% of respondents. Interestingly, 40% believe there is less theft now than 10 years ago, the Recession following the burst of the dot com bubble.

The results are based on a survey of 5,000 retailers, 95% of which are brick-and-mortar stores, with an average of 4 POS stations at each store. is an online magazine for serving the point-of-sale and retail industry.

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