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What is Loss Prevention?

Loss Prevention is becoming a more common type of work in this day and age where thefts and losses are much more frequent.

Loss Prevention is a specialization within the security industry. Most loss prevention staff are licensed security guards who are dedicated to preventing the loss of assets within the company they work for. Most companies that hire loss prevention staff are retail-based so that they can prevent shoplifting within their stores. Sometimes other types of companies hire loss prevention workers to prevent internal theft, such as warehouses.

Loss prevention is a continually evolving challenge for retail and commercial properties. The threats to both assets and infrastructure can be minimal to crippling depending on the assets targeted. The threat to staff can be such that if an incident is not mitigated correctly, staff can be drawn into the event.

What does a Loss Prevention worker do?

Loss prevention focuses on first of all ensuring mitigation is in place to deter the activity in the first place. You can see where this would be a best practice particularly where the asset is of need or of high value, such as drugs, alcohol, drug paraphernalia, precious metals, in-demand products or cash. The mindset of those stealing can be from a basic street level approach to an advanced organized crime approach.

The utilization of multiple layers is the important approach to any loss (risk) prevention program such as: store layout, staffing, signage, processes for purchase and returns, point protection of highly targeted / high value assets, installation of video, alarm systems, cash handling procedures, monitoring video and security systems etc.

Another large portion of what Loss Prevention workers or Loss Prevention officers (LPOs) do is understanding and recognizing ways that people behave when committing crimes, what their psychology is, strategies on how they commit the crimes and methods of deterrence.

How do I become a Loss Prevention worker in Alberta?

If you want to become a Loss Prevention worker, follow these steps.

  1. Take the Alberta Basic Security Training (ABST) to get your Alberta Security Services licence. The ABST Program provides licensing to work in the industry, however, the programs focus is minimal in comparison to the actual job requirements.

  2. Get certified in Use of Force and Handcuffing. One of the roles of most loss prevention workers is to make arrests on those who are shoplifting or stealing other corporate assets.

  3. Get lots of experience as a basic guard, specifically in retail. There's no better way to learn than to experience it first hand on the job. Learn as much as you can about retail by learning from your experience and talking to others who have worked in this role for many years.

  4. Companies that have internal loss prevention programs usually provide in-house training in order to focus and direct the staff member on the needs of the company. Each company has its own corporate culture of what they consider "Valuable Assets" depending on their industry. Some companies use a contract function which may provide loss prevention training, but usually focus on access control as the primary deterrent to theft.

If you would be interested in taking Loss Prevention training from Tip of Spear to open up your opportunities to work in this field, please let us know!

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