As thefts continue, retailers are locking up merchandise

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While last year’s theft wave appears to have died down somewhat, retailers say shoplifting is still more common than before the pandemic.

That’s according to a Wall Street Journal report Tuesday (September 27) that said retailers like Best Buy and Home Depot have begun locking up more items to deter theft.

The report cites the example of a Best Buy in suburban Houston, where many items — like Fitbit trackers and Bose speakers — have been replaced with signs telling shoppers, “This product is being kept in a secure place,” to instruct them to seek help from employees.

See also: From bulletproof glass to the e-commerce shift, Crime Spree is rethinking retail

Home Depot, meanwhile, has locked down more products over the past year as it tests more high-tech and customer-friendly measures, the company said.

“It’s a triage scenario,” said Scott Glenn, vice president of asset protection at Home Depot.

He added that Home Depot is seeing more theft attempts than it did before the pandemic. The company recognizes that customers don’t like seeing products locked away and tries to avoid it. However, Glenn argues that when an item with a high risk of theft is locked away, sales increase as the store stays in stock more consistently.

Representatives from Home Depot and Best Buy were not immediately available for comment Tuesday.

Learn more: As the tide of smash and grab continues, retail CEOs are turning to Congress for help

In the past year, organized “smash and grab” style robberies have increased at retailers across the country, prompting CEOs of companies like Best Buy, Target and AutoZone to turn to Congress for help.

“While we continually invest in people, policies and innovative technology to deter theft, criminals are taking advantage of the internet’s anonymity and certain marketplaces’ failure to verify their vendors,” the Retail Industry Leaders Association said in an open letter to House and Senate leadership .

“This trend has made retail establishments a target for increased theft, hurt legitimate businesses who are forced to compete with unscrupulous sellers, and significantly increased consumer exposure to unsafe and dangerous counterfeit products,” the letter added.

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