From the December 2000 issue of Entrepreneur

Like everyone else, thieves have gone high-tech. A new study finds crooks who prey on retailers go straight for the high-tech items.

Retail crime is big business in the United States: In 1998, it cost businesses more than $30 billion. According to Robert Blackwood, vice president of Winter Park, Florida-based Loss Prevention Specialists-Prevention Strategies Group, which released the study in September 1999, the best way to prevent losses and reduce crime is to fight back by training employees to use theft-prevention technology. "The [businesses] that do will have a distinct advantage in the marketplace over their competitors," says Blackwood. Look for more electronic "smart tagging" and sophisticated video surveillance equipment to help catch the crooks.

The study, which surveyed a 25-member panel of mostly retailers, also found that new technology could help employers with pre-employment screening to better predict potential employees' integrity.


Ellen Paris is a Washington, DC, writer and former Forbes magazine staff writer.

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