Magazine article Security Management

Chain Reaction

Magazine article Security Management

Chain Reaction

Article excerpt

Shoplifters love an easy heist, which is why they prey on retail outlets, where they can pocket small items like aspirin, a sports video, or a tube of eyeliner and walk out the door. After combating the problem for years with electronic article surveillance (EAS) sensors only in selected stores, the Eckerd Corporation decided last year to upgrade existing sensors and install new ones in all of its stores nationwide. In addition, the company, which is the fourth largest retail drug chain in the nation, decided to increase the volume of items it currently tagged with radio-frequency tags from 20 percent to nearly 100 percent (excluding only items like frozen foods, candies, and greeting cards). It also resolved to educate more employees about loss prevention.

According to Mickey Carter, director of loss prevention for Eckerd, the company not only needed to protect more of its goods but also wanted to be on the cutting edge of the industry trend to "source tag" its merchandise. Source tagging involves the manufacturer placing EAS tags on items before shipment to the distribution center or retail unit.

Beginning in January of this year, Eckerd rolled out new sensor units in 170 stores a month, completing the installation in late July. Sensors are placed on either side of two-door entrances and exits. The alarm is triggered when the sensors detect a tag that was not canceled at the register during a legitimate purchase. (The sensors come with a "Counterpoint V" deactivation pad to "detune," or cancel, each tag at the point of sale.) The tags themselves are a thin one-and-one-quarter-inch square containing a small radio frequency circuit.

The new versions, manufactured by Checkpoint Systems, Inc., detect EAS tags across a broader expanse and come equipped with alarm detector wands. The sensors cover an opening of up to twelve feet, whereas the older version (manufactured by the same company) covered only a six-foot opening. …

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