Local business ups their shoplifting prevention plans

Local business ups their shoplifting prevention plans

Every time you go shopping, you pay extra to cover the costs businesses lose to shoplifters. In 2014 alone, that was $44 billion.

From the moment you walk through the door at Hut Number 8 in Spokane, you know they mean business when it comes to preventing shoplifters, thanks to a sign that says, “video surveillance in use; Hut 8 prosecutes shoplifters.”

Owner Patrick Sweeney said, “we are a very unique store because we have all the mall brands, all of everyone’s favorite mall brands, in one place.”

Sweeney adds that fact alone makes them attractive to shoplifters. In five years of business, their Division Street store has seen up to three shoplifting incidents a day.

“We have customer service skills that we have adopted in to our customer service plan to prevent as much shoplifting as we can,” explained Sweeney.

North Face jackets and denim are all hot items that are censored no matter the price.

Employees must check the items in to the fitting room and then write your name on the door. If you ended up getting busted later for shoplifting, they’re going to have your name written down.

A critical piece of shoplifting prevention for Hut Number 8 though has been investing in 8 HD cameras.

“We can at any time, pull up any camera, we can zoom in on it, we can back it up, play it forward, slow motion it,” shared Sweeney.

They then give that footage over to police, who say it is essential to their investigations.

Public information officer for the Spokane Police Department John O’Brien said, “we see a lot of people over and over and when we put that picture or video out there to the officers here, a lot of them will say ‘hey I know who that person is, I dealt with that person at this time.'”

But they can’t always solve every crime and that’s why Sweeney has turned to Facebook.

“Social media has been a super effective way for us to catch shoplifters,” Sweeney said.

Sweeney is careful about what he posts. He has to have perfect video of the theft taking place, only it’s never shown as he doesn’t want to give people ideas.

“We will only post just the best pictures we can post of their faces and maybe different video clips,” Sweney added.

His methods seem to be working. Some videos get viewed over 40,000 times and very soon people start calling with names. Sometimes the thief returns and gives back the goods just to have the photo taken down. Which is OK by Sweeney.

“We just want our stuff,” said Sweeney. “If you want it, pay for it and we will give it to you.”

When those thieves come back and return the clothing or if they don’t, their photo is placed in a folder on these registers for clerks to see.