There is a significant number of individuals, even celebrities, who have experienced being falsely accused of shoplifting. You might suggest to victims to “just chalk it up to experience.” However, being wrongly accused of a crime is humiliating, and it does contribute to emotional stress and mental trauma. Also, what if your children see you being frisked just because a store employee thought that you swiped something from a counter? What do you think that incident will look to them? How will it affect them emotionally and mentally?
Since being falsely accused of a crime has a number of psychological repercussions, it’s important for those who run stores or own businesses to avoid blaming people of stealing especially if they don’t have strong evidence that this occurred. Also, even though a customer’s actions might be suggestive of shoplifting, store security and personnel must also keep in mind that there are just individuals who are just very absent-minded about what they’re doing.
In order to reduce incidences of falsely accusing customers, below are a few actions that businesses can employ. Wrongly accusing a consumer can lead to legal battles, and a company will have to pay significant sums for damages to the mistakenly accused individual.
1. Store security must see the person of interest come near, pick, hide, and carry away a certain item.
Shoplifters come in all shapes and sizes. Some are old, others are very young, and most are in-between. But what sets him apart from other shoppers is that a shoplifter will typically hone in on something specific. Once he is near the item that he wants to steal, he waits for a chance to pick it up and conceal it in his bag or clothing. Most security personnel will wait for a shoplifter to actually go past the counters and out of a store before apprehending him. This makes it pretty obvious that the individual truly intended to steal the item.
2. It’s important to have store security personnel, as well as plainclothes security guards.
When shoplifters can easily see security personnel, they’re less likely to steal. But sometimes, a thief just waits for the most opportune moment, like when the uniformed security guard turns his back. This is where a plainclothes security staff comes in. He can continue to observe the shoplifter without the thief knowing that he’s already caught. Once the crooks steps out of the shop with the unpaid merchandise, he can be apprehended.
3. Have more security cameras around a business establishment, and most especially in areas that are hidden from view.
Thieves today are more daring, and even when there are security guards around, they’d still have the guts to take the stuff that they want. The presence of security cameras helps in deterring these shoplifters. They know that video footage is evidence, and they can also be easily identified because of it.
4. Avoid frisking an individual unless you have strong proof or evidence that he indeed stole something.
Frisking a customer just because a store employee thought that he might have swiped something is a violation of human rights. The customer can actually sue the store for this.
5. Only check the bag of an individual if there is strong evidence that suggests that he (or she) shoplifted.
The security staff must know how to check the bag because errors could be interpreted as violating the customer’s rights. In checking the bag, the staff can only look inside. He is not allowed to touch anything. If he sees something out of the ordinary, then he can ask the bag’s owner to be the one to take it out. Store personnel should also keep in mind that customers have the right to refuse bag checks.
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The article is by Claire Taylor, who specializes in criminal charges and personal injury law. Many of her write-ups have been used by http://actionlegalgroupwa.com/ and other legal websites, and she hopes that her articles will allow people to learn more about their legal rights.