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The use and effectiveness of formal and informal surveillance in reducing shoplifting: a survey in Sweden, Norway and Finland

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This study investigates the use and the effectiveness of formal and informal surveillance in reducing the incidence of shoplifting in the store environment. The study used elements of Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) in its theoretical approach. The data collection was carried out through an Internet survey in Sweden, Norway and Finland in February 2010. The population for the study consisted of 358 store managers of a multinational fashion store chain. A total of 169 store managers filled in the questionnaire, yielding a total response rate of 47%. The results revealed that shoplifting is considered a significant problem in all the three countries. The study also reveals that store personnel play a crucial role in preventing shoplifting. In all the three countries, having enough well-trained employees seems to be the most effective method of preventing shoplifting. Among different forms of formal surveillance, electronic alarm tags are viewed as most efficient in the prevention of shoplifting. The results of this study clearly indicate that the human factor remains very important in crime prevention at the store level. These findings should be taken into consideration when the CPTED approach is tested and developed. In addition, future studies should create a more comprehensive framework that takes into account contextual factors and the structural characteristics of the store environment.
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Keywords: crime prevention; shoplifting; store environment; surveillance

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Marketing, Aalto University School of Economics, Helsinki, Finland

Publication date: 2011-05-01

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