Retailers Use Social Networking to Catch Thieves

Coming into the holiday season, lots of shoppers are focused on finding that perfect gift. While retailers are traditionally looking to capitalize on consumer spending, there are always the concerns for security in having too many customers and not enough staff. This is especially true in the case of shoplifting.

According to the Globe and Mail, shoplifting "accounts for more than a third of retail shrinkage" in Canada. This holiday season; however, the retailers association in Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia are turning to online social networking for help.

The island is home to 147,000 Canadians and they are concerned that shoplifting has become a stunt for bragging rights with the youth of the community. In an interview with CBC News, Paul Carrigan, manager of the Mayflower Mall, said that "shoplifting had become so bad that some people had hired professionals to steal items for them.” Retailers often have names of the offenders but no video or photographs to warn others of their misdeeds - until now.

With the advent of self-promotional sites such as YouTube and Facebook, retailers are seeing greater success in tracking down the criminals. Because of the nature of a social network, often times the perpetrator can be seen on Facebook or YouTube with the same group of friends he/she was shoplifting with earlier. A simple search on YouTube confirmed that plenty of videos exists of thieves getting away with stolen property while friends standby and film.

Because of the popularity of such sites, coupled with the false notion of anonymity on the internet, retailers are now able to place faces to the names. The owners and managers of the association in Cape Breton are actively seeking out these thieves and circulating their picture among their peers. Members of the association are then free to choose whether to ban the person from their stores or not.

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  • Anonymous
    What a bunch crap..First: bragging is childish. Second: IF they got away with it then the deed is done and without substantial proof this is effectively a dictator way of thinking. A hunch or an idea does not add up nor make compliance.
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  • neiroatopelcc
    I'm not going to say it's a good thing.
    But imagine if shoplifting in your area gets you banned from all shops there - now that may actually prevent futher thieft. Not like sending them to a prison, whereafter they're a wannabe famous rapper.
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  • nekatreven
    I'm kind of in the middle here. I can see this going overboard on the big brother/dictator side of things...but these people apparently filmed THEMSELVES. Lol, I mean you can't make it much easier to catch you.

    Hopefully, knowing that this is one more way to get caught will at least take some of the social/glamor aspect away.
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