Faculty of Applied Health & Community Studies
Degree: Investigation - Public and Private
Year of graduation: 2007
With the festive rush upon us, the stores are starting to fill with shoppers working through their holiday lists. Unfortunately, shoplifters and other scam artists also come out during this busy time, making retail security even more challenging than normal.
That’s where Jennifer comes in. She is District Loss Prevention Manager for the GTA for one of North America’s leading apparel retailers.
Retail stores use many methods to detect and reduce fraud, from sophisticated software programs and auditing systems to simpler but effective face-to-face visits and ongoing relationship-building with staff.
With about 60 stores in her district, Jennifer has a lot of ground to cover. But she works hard to visit each location every month, more frequently if there are exceptional loss concerns. “If you can develop a rapport and a sense of trust, more employees are inclined to approach you with loss prevention concerns.”
According to a 2004 Retail Council of Canada report, the total annual inventory shrinkage for Canadian retailers averages 1.23% of total sales. However, the percentage of loss depends on a variety of circumstances, says Jennifer. Factors that come into play when determining loss include the location of the store within a mall, the proximity of the store to a high school, the make-up of the surrounding cities and towns, and whether the store has security tags on its merchandise or surveillance cameras on display."
The most common cause of retail loss is internal or external theft, says Jennifer. Some loss is the result of human error, such as keying and shipping mistakes, and other causes include quick-change artists, credit card fraud and counterfeit currency.
Jennifer found retail loss prevention to be an excellent alternative to pursuing traditional careers in criminal justice. “I always wanted to be a police officer growing up however, after attending university and Sheridan, I realized that my career options were much broader and policing was only one option of many.”
After graduation, Jennifer landed a job in Information Security and Risk Management at CIBC. After three years, she started looking for a new career which would encompass all of her original aspirations. “Loss Prevention not only involves dealing with the police and fraud, but other aspects such as protection and security of the staff and stores and investigating.”
Jennifer has high praise for the work placement opportunity her program offered. “My work as an Auxiliary Postal Inspector for Canada Post and the contacts I made led me to where I am today.”