According to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention, losses due to thefts from retail stores alone amount to more than 35 million a day. The Army & Air Force Exchange Service, which has contributed more than $2.4 billion to morale, welfare and recreation programs in the past 10 years, continues to focus its efforts on reducing theft to maximize the investment authorized shoppers make in their Exchange benefit.
Through an aggressive "Shoplifting Awareness Community Outreach" program targeted at youth, closed circuit televisions with DVR technology and high-tech Electronic Article Surveillance, the Exchange took "a bite out of crime" at its facilities last year as shoplifting cases dropped 12.7 percent, from 5,432 in 2010 to 4,742.
The value of merchandise involved in these incidents also dropped, from $533,760 to $529,440 in 2011.
"Because of the toll shoplifting takes on retail, shoppers typically pay 1.5 cents more per dollar as a result," said the Exchange's Vice President of Loss Prevention Rick Koloski. "Our proactive, and visible, efforts to prevent shoplifting have resulted in three consecutive years of decreases and, as a result, a stronger benefit for those we serve."
If shoplifting is suspected, the Exchange Loss Prevention office turns the issue over to 75th Security Forces personnel. In addition to possible disciplinary action and/or criminal prosecution, the Federal Claims Collection Act allows the Exchange to enact a flat, administrative cost (Civil Recovery) of $200. There may be further fees, in addition to the Civil Recovery Program, depending on the condition of the stolen merchandise.
As a community, we can reduce retail theft even more. Be proactive, observe your surroundings and report suspected theft to any AAFES employee or 75th SFS. Discuss the consequences with children and remember retail theft affects us all.