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Rosanne D’Amico, Director Of Customer Solutions

RDamicoRosanne D’Amico is a security professional with over fourteen years of experience in the field. She has successfully managed key accounts, cultivated excellent relations with clients and delivered strong security programs. Ms. D’Amico’s career began in retail investigations and grew into account management, thereafter leading into strategic initiatives and business development. Her focus on developing, utilizing best practices and ensuring operational excellence has led her to excel as an industry leader in the areas of contract compliance and proven key performance measurements. Her expertise in operations, business development and defining requirements allows her to identify vertical market trends and customize programs that foster long-term relationships with her clients.

3 Key Technology Trends in Retail & The Security Risks

With all of the technology available for improving security and the customer service experience, loss prevention remains staggeringly high. Retailers can improve the customer experience through technology while also understanding how to mitigate the security risks technology can create.

Below are some key technology trends retailers are implementing, but they still need to have checks and balances.

Facial Recognition


Facial recognition systems can benefit retailers by identifying when key clients are in the store, recognizing when a suspect has trespassed and identify recurring shoplifters.

Retailers must remember they still require a trained professional to review and analyze the facial recognition system at all times. They also need to have a support team to act on potential threats. Even when facial recognition technology is programmed correctly, there is still the possibility of errors to occurring for various reasons such as disguises, image clarity, power outages, etc.

Prepaid Cards

Prepaid cards make a great gift or reward, but it has also created a criminal industry that is on the rise. Some retailers are no longer accepting prepaid cards as a form of payment.

Retailers and financial institutions are looking into checks and balances to support the customer, hoping to continue the use of prepaid cards.

Self-Payment Systems

Self-payment systems are beneficial for grocery and big box stores, but retailers still need to have physical security presence, aside from technology, to help monitor purchases to avoid shoplifting or accidental theft.

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4 Tips for Loss Prevention in Retail


With the holiday season is fast approaching, retailers need to ensure loss prevention practices become part of their everyday routine.

Security is not an illusion – meaning your customers need to know that you are a security-minded store. All personnel must be included in your security program. Having security presence is also a great way to deter and prevent theft. Customers do not enter a store with the intent to steal – 80% of robberies happen when a customer sees an opportunity.

Below are some additional tips:

  • The best theft deterrent is great customer service
    • Thieves do not like attention and need to be left alone to have the opportunity to steal
  • Identify key areas of concern and turn them into hot zones for customer engagement
    • Ensure all employees know which areas are the highest priority
    • Identify the areas on a store map if available
    • Ask employees to walk through the hot zones frequently
  • Treat everyone who walks through your doors as a potential customer
    • Thieves will not always exhibit the same behaviour – train all staff to approach each person and offer great customer service
  • Make it apparent to thieves that you take security seriously and ensure the measures you have in place are well displayed

To learn more about how ASAP Secured can help with loss prevention please visit: www.asapsecured.com

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10 Suspicious Behaviours Associated with Retail Theft

Are you aware of the suspicious behaviours associated with retail theft? See our list below of the 10 Suspicious Behaviours Associated with Retail Theft!

  1. Suspect(s) carrying empty and/or large shopping bags.
  2. Suspect(s) entering stores with backpacks or duffle bags.
  3. Suspect(s) taking merchandise to restrooms.
  4. Suspect(s) dressed in heavy clothing and unseasonal attire to help conceal stolen goods.
  5. Suspect(s) shopping with strollers and/or carts.
  6. Suspect(s) piling stacks of merchandise.
  7. Suspect(s) looking at ceilings and cameras.
  8. Suspect(s) overly friendly and asking a lot of questions as a distraction tactic.
  9. Suspect(s) paying more attention to staff and their location then the actual merchandise.
  10. Suspect(s) moving merchandise from it’s original area to a lower visibility area of the store. Typically a less travelled or low visibility area of the store.

Learn more by watching our retail theft webinar, click here. To learn how ASAP Secured can help fight retail theft visit: www.asapsecured.com

Posted in: Protective Services and Investigations

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Ontario Minimum Wage Increase and the Security Industry

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Ontario’s pay rate increase is legislated to take effect January 1, 2018, and January 1, 2019. Maybe this is perfect timing to discuss the security industry. The goal of all security companies is to recruit best in class security guards. I think it is time for the industry to get the opportunity to re-define the security profession. Back in 2002 when I started in the industry, I recall there used to be a line of candidates in the office wanting to become security guards. Today this does not happen anymore! The ministry has changed the licensing requirements. So, to even be considered, the ministry has mandated that applicants invest 40 hours of training, pay to register and get their security licence.

This can cost a perspective security professional in upwards of $350.00 to get licensed. In addition, if the applicant is currently employed in a different sector, the candidate would have to take numerous days off for training to qualify for the license. What would motivate someone to invest in this process? Maybe it is time for security services to take a hard look and re-evaluate its process and pay grade and collectively set the benchmark for the industry to bring back applicants knocking on our doors.

Please comment on this post as I welcome any feedback.

Posted in: Protective Services and Investigations

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Re-evaluate and Reset

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Time and time again, I hear how a building was broken into, how a retailer got their windows smashed in overnight or is suffering from shrinkage.

In the security industry, this is a bittersweet situation because we know we can be there to provide security services during these times.

Companies need to truly assess – re-evaluate and reset. What is the right procedure – preventative or proactive security? Many industry associations can provide a lot of support in identifying best practices. Reach out and see if any of them have had a risk assessment and what the outcome was. There are industry, brand, and geographical implications to review as well as a corporate security program.

It is a tough one because companies need to weigh the costs of security vs. no security. When there is security, it is difficult to justify the cost when nothing is happening. This becomes a vicious cycle. If you have a security program and are still experiencing theft, maybe it is time to re-evaluate the entire plan. Quality checks in your security program are essential. Most security companies can support and assist you with a quality audit.

Companies have a responsibility to look at industry trends. Are you taking a hit more than your competitors? There are risk assessments that include brand perception that needs to be evaluated along with a holistic security program.

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After a Hard Day’s Work – Go Home Feeling Rejuvenated

The other day, I was chatting with a business associate, and he started talking about his daughter’s internship and how much she was enjoying her job. The company she works for (Happy Melly) helps businesses find happiness in the workplace. I later went to their website, read some of their blogs and listened to a few podcasts. What an interesting concept!

Employers and employees are so caught up in getting the job done, that they lose focus on what is important – enjoying life. Happy Melly shares stories of how people are becoming happier, more engaged and more productive at work.

Here are some thoughts I had that can be shared with all employees in the workplace:

  • Start of the workday quote
  • Mid-day daily joke
  • Half time intermission – e.g. Play some interactive music or play games such as ping pong, air hockey etc.
  • The 7th inning stretch – e.g. Step away from your office for a late afternoon back stretch

Some phrases from Happy Melly’s podcast:

  • Philosophy and leadership are deeply rooted
  • New ways of approaching business are emerging
  • Working together, we can grow both our collective business objective and our individual ones
  • Work at play and play at work
  • The human project is about making businesses more human
  • We are getting serious about happiness
  • Loving your job becomes the new standard and not the exception

Most mission statements are used to communicate the purpose of an organization. I think every organization should have a mission statement with an ending sentence that also includes achieving happiness for all staff.

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Loss Prevention Investigations; Should Training be Standardized?

Over the years, I have seen the role of a loss prevention investigator change dramatically. There are so many variances to the job description that to find a loss prevention investigator to support your needs of the client is becoming more and more difficult.
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All loss prevention investigators follow the same five steps to apprehend a shoplifter. However, due to all the liabilities associated with the role, the requirements of how to mitigate these risks have altered the duty to whether a loss prevention investigator should apprehend or deter. Some are being asked not to arrest, wear a uniform, and work with store associates to have the suspects ‘customer serviced’. This new approach to loss prevention is making it more and more difficult to find loss prevention skillsets.

When I interview for loss prevention positions, many of the candidates have loss prevention experience but no formal training or certification. Even at a provincial level, there doesn’t seem to be a training model on consensus or requirements.

We need to evaluate a standard, ensuring that all loss prevention investigators are properly trained. With such a highly liable roll and no standard of training begs the question if this should be a focus for the industry?

Posted in: Protective Services and Investigations

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The Security Guard Profession

blog-2Security is an industry that will never go away. With all the potential threats in today’s society, more and more businesses are in need of help to protect their property, assets, and people. However, it is a profession that is not addressed often enough.

Almost every form of business utilizes security, and the duties of a security guard can vary drastically depending on the employer and assignments. It is for this reason, hiring the right guard for the right position is critical to the success of the security provider and the security professional.

Over the course of my fourteen-year career in security, it has been rewarding to work with so many interesting and talented people. Some for only a few years while pursuing their education for another profession. About 7 years ago, a security guard I worked with got accepted into dentistry school. He worked with us for three years to make ends meet, and every free moment he would be studying. When I found out he got in, I was so proud of him. I was pleased that we were able to provide him with a schedule and site that would work for him. I find there are many reasons why people apply to become a security guard. However, these seem to be the most popular:

  • Immigrants trying to find stability in Canada
  • Ambition to get into law enforcement
  • Stop gap measure while pursuing their aspiring career
  • Employees choosing security as their profession

As a manager, it is so important to understand the goals of our employees and place them in positions where they will succeed. It is so gratifying employing security professionals that stay employed at ASAP as their chosen career. However, it is just as rewarding seeing our security personnel pursue their dreams whether it is in law enforcement or another industry.

blog-1I read an article from the Toronto Star last week that sparked my attention. The article was about an immigrant that came to Canada and worked as a security guard while pursuing his career. I found his story inspiring. He was working as concierge security in a condominium while taking courses to as a journalist/writer. Mayank Bhatt eventually wrote a book titled ‘Belief’, and it is now available at Indigo. I went out of my way to buy this book, as I wanted to support this former security guard.

Getting to know the people that work on the field is such a gratifying part of my career.

 

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“What Worries the World?”

There was an interesting study published by IPSOS relating to the identification of the top five worries within North America. The study found that the top two contentions held by American citizens are terrorism, and crime and violence. Overall globally, socio-economic and security concerns were listed as the leading ‘worries’ to improving the well-being and quality of life.

The results indicate the following:

Top five global issues Top five US issues
1) Unemployment (38%) 1) Terrorism (35%)
2) Financial / Political Corruption (34%) 2) Crime and Violence (33%)
3) Poverty / Social Inequality (33%) 3) Healthcare (29%)
4) Crime & Violence (31%) 4) Unemployment (23%)
5) Healthcare (22%) 5) Immigration Control (22%)

 

What is of particular importance is the focus of the study. The survey was meant to add clarity to whether citizens felt their country was heading in the right or wrong direction concerning these worries. (I should mention that the evaluation was not limited to just North America). There was a global survey as well, but I would like to keep this closer to home and ask if you feel we are going in the right direction or not. Individual and community security are an important dimension of development. I find it interesting how in some countries security and socio-economic concerns can directly go hand and hand. I wonder if security issues and ‘worries’ improved, would socio-economic concerns improve as well.

Do we agree that these top two considerations are in fact on par with the vibe out there?

The premise of this study was to determine if citizens believed their country was on the ‘right track or wrong track’.

Country Right Track Wrong Track
US 36% 64%
French 12% 88%
China 90% 10%
Saudi Arabia 71% 29%
India 67% 33%
Globally 37% 63%

 

It is also interesting to see which countries believe that they are on the right track. Why and what makes them think this? The countries that believe they are on the wrong track are provided with information freely. Despite where we place our judgement I think most would agree that safety is important now more than ever. I think we are starting to take the right steps by focusing the policing sector on these top two concerns, and by allocating lower level threats to the private security sector. You can read more about this in Han Koren’s recent blog entitled, “Non-Core Policing – A Shift in Thinking”.

Being privy to the security sector puts me in both a fortunate and unfortunate position, depending on how you look at it. The positive side of it is, knowing that there are options that are being considered by many experts to ensure the best solution is brought forward.

It is refreshing to know that the commercial, private and public sectors are collaborating to achieve the best results. I can only hope with this shift in thinking that we can start to put a dent in these top two concerns in order to maintain and propagate a safe and secure home for all of us.

What are your concerns? Is Canada on the ‘wrong track’ or ‘right track’?

Sources:

http://www.ipsos-na.com/news-polls/pressrelease.aspx?id=7413

http://www.securitymagazine.com/articles/87514-americans-most-worried-about-terrorism-crime-and-healthcare

http://www.whatiseconomics.org/economic-development/

http://www3.qeh.ox.ac.uk/pdf/crisewps/workingpaper3.pdf

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