Stopping Theft in Its Tracks

Stopping Theft in Its Tracks

Increasing cost of technology requires line of defense

Stopping Theft in Its Tracks Increasing cost of technology requires line of defenseThe evolution of line security for handheld electronics in retail stores has been nothing short of amazing. When Scorpion Security Products launched its Scorpion security device, telecommunication and consumer electronics companies around the globe wanted the most unobtrusive, minimal security possible. If invisible security could have been provided, retailers would have jumped at the chance, especially those selling phones, tablets, computers and cameras.

Due to the increasing cost of these products and their amazing technology, the level of theft around the world has increased significantly. The loss has been so staggering that many retailers are now pleading for a highly-secure, bolt-down solution that the “cut-and-run” thieves will not be able to beat. These bolt-down versions are nice for interactions but are so secure that thieves are unable to loosen them.

Scorpion has been ahead of this trend during the last five years. It is only in the most recent year that more and more of these retailers are now requesting or specifying the highest level of security. They realize that having no products on display is far worse than not having a phone or tablet highly secured. After all, the day of holding the smartphone to your ear to see how the phone feels is fading fast. Shoppers still do it out of habit when able; however, when they cannot, they will know how to operate an iPhone or Android smartphone just fine.

Never Taken for Granted

It is important that security not be taken for granted so competing line security companies continue to look for advanced technology to bring better solutions to the market.

For example, Scorpion has recently partnered with a Netherlands- based company, SellMore, to create a new, RFID-driven, bolt-down security solution that is able to be removed at any time for showing customers or remerchandising departments.

Security companies that stay ahead of their competition look more at partnering with other technology-based companies to gain an advantage at securing these valuable products better than others. As business dictates, those that continuously evolve with assistance are far more likely to be successful than those that continue to create within and are not keeping up with the latest trends.

The Scorpion Difference

The difference with Scorpion products is that they were created with the sole purpose of securing handheld electronics. Most, if not all, of our competitors were securing many other products when the cellular boom took place in the early 1990s. This created a unique opportunity for Scorpion to create specific, product-driven solutions versus modifying current products to secure and properly merchandise cellular devices.

Just like in any business or purchasing decisions, quality should be the first priority; however, in many cases, the product purchased is far inferior to the required level of security. There are many companies that now provide and promote “quick fix” solutions to security needs, in which the supplier ends up explaining the poor quality of the product and reason for high theft versus explaining why their product is better, even at a little higher price.

There is no gray area when it comes to line security. To make sure shrinkage is kept to a minimum, it is important to invest in the line security products that will keep your products secured while providing a pleasant, end-user experience.

Levels of Security

There are various levels of security required in many retail locations. High-theft, large-traffic areas like New York City, Los Angeles or Chicago require the highest level of security available, like a bolt-down option or a pin and washer solution. The latter is a ?-inch-diameter, steel rod that cannot be cut but allows for the customer to pick up the phone or tablet from the display. There are also several levels of aircraft cable available that is extremely difficult to cut, providing an acceptable level of security while allowing the consumer to have full interaction with the product.

Medium and low-security areas, such as a mall kiosk that is staffed or a retail store with many associates, are less likely to need the highest level of security. These locations tend to use a standard mechanical product or even a hinged sensor, complete with an alarm system that provides a 100+ decibel alarm when cut or tampered with by a potential thief. These provide sufficient security and can be an excellent option for lower security areas.

Fool Proof Line Security

There have been solutions presented where a chip is placed under the battery or battery cover of a smart phone, with an RFID reader inside the store. If the product leaves its comfort zone, the alarm will sound. Great idea, right? NO. Little Johnny doesn’t know that the pretty, shiny phone lying on the counter is not his if there is nothing holding it in place. He picks it up and starts walking around the store; the alarm goes off every 10 seconds. A shopper’s worst nightmares come true. And, if thieves are willing to cut-and-run, this only allows them a quicker exit.

Line security needs to be fool proof enough that alarms are not sounding every five minutes. Most of us have been in stores where the alarms keep going off, and store personnel must stop what they are doing to go over and turn it off. False alarms turn your associates into police and your customers into suspects. This is not what line security is designed to do.

A combination of mechanical and electronic security prevents false alarms, since the phone, tablet or Phablet is physically secured to the alarm sensor; yet, many competitors simply do not provide this type of solution, causing major issues for retailers. Of course, everyone considers their product to be superior to others. Like the brand of car you drive, there are features and benefits to every brand, or in this case, line security supplier, that is more to the liking of the buyer.

Line security will continue to evolve, and there is good reason to believe someone will come up with a gimmick or technique that they will promote as the new highest level of security. However, everyone should always remember this: You cannot change the law of physics. Basic security of some type will always be required to keep honest people honest.

This article originally appeared in the April 2014 issue of Security Today.

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