Employees Steal 5.9 Times More Than Shoplifters

About 5 min

Employees Steal 5.9 Times More Than Shoplifters

Retail TheftAccording to a 2010 survey released by Jack Hayes International, the leading loss prevention and inventory shrinkage control consulting firm, dishonest employees steal 5.9 times more than shoplifters which equates to an average of $639.99 per crime. This number is overwhelming as compared to the average crime per shoplifter at $108.46. This is certainly no surprise since employees have the in-depth knowledge of the whereabouts of the highest value merchandise, along with the in-depth knowledge of security systems and store protocols.

According to the study, there were over 1 million individuals apprehended in 2010 by just 23 major retailers at 19,104 stores which represented an excellent cross-section of the United States. Individuals and employees within these retailers stole over $7 billion dollars total. Of the $7 billion stolen, only $148 million or 2.6% was recovered by these retailers. This is a huge hit to the retail sector as many struggle to survive in a sluggish economy.

Here are some additional employee retail theft statistics revealed by the 2010 survey:

  • Comparison - One out of every 33.2 employees was apprehended for theft from their employer in 2010 (based on comparison data of over 2.8 million employees).
  • Apprehensions - Survey participants apprehended 69,373 dishonest employees in 2010, down 0.4% from 2009.
  • Recoveries - Dollars recovered from dishonest employee apprehensions totaled over $44 million in 2010, a decrease of 12.7% from 2009.

According to this year's survey, employee retail theft was slightly down from the 2009 survey statistics as compared below.

  2009 2010 Percent Difference
Apprehensions 69,619 69,373 - 0.35%
Recoveries $50,824,717 $44,397,752 - 12.65%
Avg. Case Value $730.04 $639.99 - 12.34%




According to the respondents from the survey, the following are some of the factors related to the decrease in employee theft from 2009:

  • Less turnover and fewer overall employees
  • Fewer new-hires and seasonal employees
  • Less Loss Prevention staff and labor available
  • Better/enhanced pre-employment screening
  • Better Loss Prevention training and awareness

Here are a few tips for retailers when conducting criminal background checks:

  • Properly identify your subject up-front to be sure you have the right candidate when conducting a background check. Background screening professionals use electronic database information that helps them connect the dots when identifying aliases and other names that may not be disclosed by the subject. This is especially true for criminals trying to hide identity and prior criminal activity;
  • Conduct a criminal background check where the subject has lived and worked using all disclosed and developed names and addresses for an extensive period of time (typically 7 years, if not more);
  • Search criminal court records within county, state and federal courts using information as described above. Utilize national electronic criminal history information to help fill-in the gaps and conduct a criminal search with a national and international scope;
  • Search numerous government agency lists to be sure that your candidate is not currently being pursued by law enforcement agencies or may have an outstanding warrant for arrest;
  • Utilize credit reports, within state legal requirements, to uncover the financial stability of your candidate. A credit report may also include outstanding civil judgments, tax or government liens;
  • Verify prior employment credentials to help identify any prior activity of theft, fraud or performance related issues.
  • Conduct employee drug testing to ensure that your employees don't add to additional security and safety risks.

EBI works with retailers across the nation to provide a full range of comprehensive and legally compliant employment background check solutions to help retailers prevent employee theft and reduce the risks and liability of a bad hire.

EBI is committed to providing employers with valuable education and resources on changing legislation and cutting-edge and compliant solutions to meet federal, state, local and international mandatory requirements. If you found this information useful, select the button listed below and access more industry news, resources and tips from EBI, an NAPBS Accredited screening firm and global leader in the background screening industry!

Stay up-to-date on Employment Laws & Regulations with EBI's Screening News Network.