Loss Prevention

Creative and innovative approach to community partnerships and engagement helping to reduce retail crime

May 19, 2021

Development of strong relationships and challenging the contemporary loss prevention paradigm resulting in big success

As retail crime across Canada continues to rise and new threats against the safety and security of the retail operation present themselves, retail loss prevention teams are tasked with the increasingly difficult job of developing strategies and executing on them, in order to improve outcomes and results for the business. With variables changing amid a significantly altered retail landscape, the role of today’s loss prevention professional has become more integral to the success of the retail operation than ever before.

Unfortunately, it’s become exponentially more difficult as well. But, according to Sean Sportun, Security Professional and Chair at Crime Stoppers Toronto, by reevaluating loss prevention strategies through innovative and creative thinking, approaches to curbing retail crime can be enhanced.

“We wanted to think differently and challenge old ideas and ways of doing things and inspire our team to look at everything creatively and challenge conventions.”

Sportun, who spoke at Retail Council of Canada’s recent virtual 2021 Retail Loss Prevention Forum, is a big believer in critical thinking and shared with attendees the details and impressive results of a partnership that was formed between Circle K and Crime Stoppers Toronto. Together, they decreased crime, enhanced the retailer’s brand reputation, ensured community safety and increased store sales. He says that the partnership began and was supported from the beginning by creative approach and an intentional attempt to develop a philosophy that shifted the conventional loss prevention paradigm.

“We started to build out our approach by questioning everything,” he explains. “We wanted to think differently and challenge old ideas and ways of doing things and inspire our team to look at everything creatively and challenge conventions. When you do this, by leveraging creativity, your approach to problem solving changes and new perspectives suddenly develop. New ways of doing things present themselves, sometimes showing you that the you’ve already got the solution to the problem that you’re trying to solve.”

The retailer experienced a 67% reduction in youth crime, 68% decrease in robberies and, most importantly, a 92% decline in assaults.

Once a philosophy and approach toward loss prevention had been developed, Sportun and his team went to work to identify the key stakeholders that would make sense to partner with in order to strengthen the retailer’s strategy, such as local law enforcement, media and members of the community.

Through this approach, in combination with the execution of awareness campaigns, development of community engagement programs and strategic use of social media, the partnership between Circle K and Crime Stoppers has yielded incredible results. The retailer experienced a 67% reduction in youth crime, 68% decrease in robberies and, most importantly, a 92% decline in assaults.

Sportun credits much of the partnership’s success to the development of strong relationships between the retailer and its stakeholders, adding that the level of engagement within the community that’s been achieved as a result has been critical toward ensuring that Circle K’s loss prevention objectives were met.

“Because of the partnerships that we built and engagement that was encouraged and facilitated, supported by strategic campaigns and messaging, Circle K was able to create a safer, more secure environment for its employees and customers. And, as a result, the surrounding communities were made that much safer. These results are a testament not only to the dedication of the Circle K team toward improving their loss prevention outcomes, but to the value of reevaluating traditional approaches and thinking differently when it comes to preventing loss and crime.”

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