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To Catch a Thief

You don't need a badge--just better technology.

It's every retailer's job to thwart thieves. Luckily, there are a variety of affordable technologies available to help businesses stop shoplifters, including:

Booster bag detection: Electronic article surveillance, or EAS, systems--those tags that set off an alarm when they move past a detector--aren't new, and thieves have been able to outsmart them by using "booster bags" lined with aluminum foil. Good news: Now there are detectors--such as those from Checkpoint Systems Inc.--that sense large metal surfaces, tipping you off to booster bag use.

Intelligent video analysis: Cameras that are triggered by motion sensors or by a tone that sounds when a customer enters the shop can more effectively capture images of shoplifters. The surveillance is especially helpful if you don't want someone in a particular room or hallway; these cameras will send a picture to you if someone enters that area. IntelliVid offers a variety of options for retailers.

Electronic safes: These new lockups allow you to set unique key codes or even use fingerprint access for each employee, giving you an audit trail of who accessed the safe and when. Add camera surveillance of the safe for extra security. Check out the offerings by American Security Products Co.

Gwen Moran is co-author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Business Plans.

Gwen Moran is a freelance writer and co-author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Business Plans (Alpha, 2010).

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This article was originally published in the April 2007 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: To Catch a Thief.

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