The number of convenience stores is on the rise: in North America there are over 175,000 locations, representing almost 34% of all retail outlets…far more than drug stores, supermarkets and dollar stores.
Many convenience stores are experiencing robberies and burglaries. Some criminals favor cash; however, tobacco is becoming an increasingly attractive target. Organized retail crime rings resell tobacco and its high price makes it a profitable item to steal. Stores lose hundreds of thousands of dollars of profit due to these crimes, but more importantly, robberies and burglaries cause other problems for stores including:
- Lost sales while store is closed, or while police are processing the crime scene.
- Personnel issues resulting from the aftermath and stress of robberies.
- Possible damage to stores if thieves use destructive means such as smash and grab or crash and grab assaults to steal inventory.
Mac’s Convenience Stores in Canada faced elevated levels of crime due to tobacco thefts and decided to take a proactive approach to address the issue. Security Director Sean Sportun has continually embraced innovative technologies to prevent crime, including using social media to post robbery event info and video footage of each robbery to try to identify criminals. He approached 3SI for a solution, and we offered the Tobacco Tracker, a product using our proven GPS Tracking Technology. With a equal emphasis on criminal apprehension and inventory recovery, Tobacco Tracker helps the store maintain operations while reducing future crimes by taking career criminals off the street.
When it comes to preventing crime and protecting employees, sometimes you need to evaluate your current practices and think outside the box – make a shift in your paradigm to achieve your goal. Technology is evolving and security professionals need to leverage this to their advantage. GPS tracking, specifically the Tobacco Tracker, is an excellent example of how technology is assisting in asset recovery, offender apprehension and over the long term the prevention of incidents at Mac’s Convenience Stores.
ICPS Mac’s Convenience Stores
Manager, Security & Loss Prevention
To address the tobacco theft problem, the customer first identified stores that were located in areas with high crime rates. In May of 2014, they began using 3SI’s Tobacco Tracker in these locations.
The first robbery events occurred in July. In both cases, the trackers worked as desired and led to one suspect being apprehended. The successes have continued and a total of nine serial offenders have been taken off the streets thanks to the tracking program. The store chain has expanded the program to comprise over 80 Tobacco Trackers throughout Canada.
Keys to the success of the Tobacco Tracker include:
- The tracker activates on motion to ensure the theft is detected whether the criminal demands merchandise from the clerk or forcefully takes it himself.
- Using 3SI’s secure website, the criminal is tracked allowing police to move in and apprehend the suspect.
- Typically, felons are caught within 20 minutes of committing the crime.
- Trackers take less than 20 minutes to install so stores are protected right away.
3SI GPS tracking devices are designed to protect convenience stores 24/7. 3SI provides support from the criminal event to the apprehension, and everywhere in between. This collaborative relationship allowed 3SI and the customer to:
- Identify and install the product in high risk stores.
- Train police to respond to crime events using 3SI trackers.
- Assist law enforcement to apprehend the suspect and recover the stolen assets.
With an overall retail success rate of 85%+ for apprehension and asset recovery, 3SI Trackers are a proven, covert and inexpensive option to protect valuable inventory.
Convenience Store Solutions
Convenience stores are frequently targeted for crime – cash, tobacco, electronics, alcohol… there are many items that attract criminals. Luckily, 3SI offers an inexpensive and highly effective suite of solutions. Visit our ‘Convenience Store Solutions’ page to learn more.