How Shoplifting is Suspected: Shoplifting Surveillance
New York City Defense Attorney

Shoplifting is one of the biggest challenges to retail stores. Jokingly called “the five finger discount,” shoplifting is considered a threat due to slim profit margins that many retail store in New York City face. Recently, major technological advancements have armed stores with better, cheaper, and more accurate ways to detect and deter shoplifters. So called anti-shoplifting technology is now commonplace from the smallest convenience store to large retail establishments (like Bloomingdale's). This technology includes high definition cameras, EAS Scanners (Electronic Article Surveillance), and RFID Scanners (Radio Frequency Identification).

EAS. Electronic Article Surveillance is a general term to refer to several specific technologies used to prevent shoplifting in retail stores. The main thing they all have in common is that they are electronic, so EAS is, basically, synonymous with any modern anti-shoplifting device. EAS is comprised of magnetic surveillance, magnetostructive, RFID Scanners, microwave, and video surveillance.

Cameras. Cameras are probably one of the oldest and most relied-upon anti-shoplifting devices. Depending on the resolution, location, amount of cameras and whether they are fixed or movable, a store security officer can see a shoplifter remove price tags, sensor tags, conceal items in a bag, or do anything else considered indicative of shoplifting.

Magnetic systems. This system is based on a tag and a reader. The Tags are made of a strips of metal that are magnetic placed next to non-magnetic strips. The variance between the magnetic response is detected. The non-magnetic material can be magnetized (by the cashier) and thus the variance is lost since the entire strip becomes magnetic and you can leave the store without being stopped.

RFID Scanners. This technology allows retailers, by way of radio frequency, to tack the location of good throughout their store and use this information for anti-shoplifting and inventory purposes. RFID is a technology involving radio wave communication between a RFID reader and electronic tags which are attached to merchandise throughout the store. This technology is very common now and is used in toll collection (EZ-Pass) and imbedded in passports. Each product can have its own unique identifying number, so a shoplifted item can be identified by the exact item, original location (such as on a rack or display), and price. This information can then be relayed to store security or the police. Debatably the RFID information may be, alone, conclusive of shoplifting regardless of whether the stolen item is ever recovered.

FALSE ALARMS. No technology is ever foolproof. One of the potential reasons you may be falsely accused of shoplifting has to do with a sensor reader falsely sounding an alarm when you exit. This is often due to improper deactivation of the tags by the cashier or store security. Other electronic devices, such as cell phones or media players, may also cause trigger the alarm. Even other RFID devices, such as passports, may trigger a RFID system. Other nearby alarm systems can also sporadically trigger the alarm. Call the Law Office of Lance Fletcher at 212-619-3900 for more information on this important issue.

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