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Press Release 12-15-14


University of Florida Develops Techniques to
Quell Rampant Shoplifting

GAINESVILLE, Fla., Dec. 12, 2014  US retailers report collectively losing over $45 billion in merchandise annually, with over $10 billion of that per year to shoplifting. December is a peak loss month. To help combat these problems, over 40 major retail chains formed a specialized research council to facilitate the use of science to curtail theft and violence. As part of this effort, a specialized University of Florida research team interviews offenders, analyzes large datasets, and conducts field experiments to adapt and devise new crime control methods and technologies.

The team, headed by University of Florida research criminologist Dr. Read Hayes, works with retail asset protection executives and security technology engineers in fully-operating stores and their parking lots to create or calibrate existing crime control countermeasures. Much of this critical work centers on adjusting evolving analytical and deterrent measures designed to affect would-be offender decisions to reduce crime attempts and resulting injuries and losses. "Our work combines rapidly developing technologies and the psychology of decision- making to better prevent crime attempts," says Dr. Hayes.

Retail company executives engage with the UF team via working groups that focus in specialized areas including video solutions, product protection, supply chain protection, and organized retail crime control to develop and rigorously test existing and emerging crime control methods. Current crime prevention efforts include improving loss control from fitting and restrooms, better protecting electronics and health and beauty care products, affecting large organized theft and fraud syndicates, countering robbery and parking lot crime.

Participating retailers aim to better serve their customers through collaboration and science-driven innovation of crime and loss control measures with the University of Florida and the Loss Prevention Research Council, both located in Gainesville, FL where numerous retail chains work with the UF team on innovation. These over 40 progressive retailers include Bloomingdales, Lowe's, Target, CVS, Pep Boys, Big Lots, Best Buy, T-Mobile, Office Depot, Kay Jewelers, dressbarn, eBay, The Home Depot, Walgreens, Kroger, Walmart, Rite Aid, Toys R Us, Sears/Kmart, Publix Super Markets, AutoZone, and Verizon.

For more information please contact:

Read Hayes, PhD
Research Scientist, University of Florida
Director, Loss Prevention Research Council
3324 W. University Ave., Ste. 351
Gainesville, FL 32607



Press Release 12-15-14
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