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Eye in the Aisles: TJ Maxx Turns To Police-Style Body Cams to Tackle Shoplifting Surge

The industry term used to describe these losses is "shrink" and the overall shrink surpassed an astounding $112 billion.
PUBLISHED JUN 7, 2024
Cover Image Source: TJ Maxx store | Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images
Cover Image Source: TJ Maxx store | Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images

Body cameras, generally associated with the police, are becoming more and more common in the retail industry in hopes of countering shoplifting. TJ Maxx shoppers will now be observed by security workers outfitted with police-type body cams at some of the stores. TJX, which operates TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and HomeGoods, says that this action is to curb shoplifting which has been one of the major concerns right now.

"One of the things that we’ve added, we started to do last year, late towards the year, were body cameras on our LP associates,” TJX CFO John Klinger said on an earnings call last month. “And when somebody comes in, it’s sort of—it’s almost like a de-escalation where people are less likely to do something when they’re being videotaped. So, we feel that that’s playing a role," via Fortune.

Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images
Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

According to the company officials, the cameras are meant to record incidents for legal as well as safety and training purposes. While the trend of body cameras is only being introduced in the States, the retail industry in the UK has been using body cameras for quite some time now. "Money spent on making sure people are safe at work is always well spent,” said Tesco CEO Ken Murphy last year. "But it should not have to be like this."

TJX is not the only one exercising strict actions. In a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation last year, 35% of US retailers said they were researching body cameras for employees, as reported by CNN Business.

A drug store in New York showing their security camera system | 	Richard Levine | Getty Images
A drug store in New York showing their security camera system | Richard Levine | Getty Images

However, even with all these measures, experts believe that this is going to do very little when it comes to curbing shoplifting. According to workers advocates, things like this can only be helped with improved training staffing levels, and other safety investments.

Currently, TJX is the only retailer that has spoken publicly about their safety measures and about the body cameras that they have implemented. However, they are not the only ones having to take steps against theft. Companies like Target, Walmart, and Home Depot are also collectively using AI as well as real-time heat maps. "We're seeing this groundswell of collaboration," Mike Lamb, a former Kroger (KR) loss prevention executive told Yahoo Finance for NEXT.



As per Yahoo Finance, the mentions of retail crime have only increased in the earning calls. The industry term used to describe these losses is "shrink" and the overall shrink surpassed an astounding $112 billion, according to the National Retail Federation. Other steps taken by the retail giants include maintaining an organized store layout, utilizing effective investor management, surveying and identifying the items that are especially at risk, displaying clear anti-theft notices, implementing other anti-theft tools as well as devices, and training their staff.

Other initiatives like banning large bags in some of the stores and investing in AI-driven surveillance are also proving to be useful.

Over the last few years, the US and especially New York saw a huge spike in reported shoplifting, and therefore, it's hardly a surprise that companies are taking organized steps to tackle the problem.

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