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    AAFES Enlists High-Tech Loss Prevention Safeguards

    Company working with individual stores and suppliers to deter shoplifting.

    DALLAS -- The Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) is enlisting the support of the latest in loss prevention technology, using Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) systems, which are on the front lines of AAFES’ efforts to deter shoplifting and prevent unpaid merchandise from leaving the store.

    BX/PX management, based on local conditions and experience, in conjunction with supporting loss prevention personnel are identifying specific items to be tagged with EAS devices, and the tags are deactivated at the cash register when the merchandise is paid for, the company reported.

    Additionally, manufacturers are placing tags inside the packaging of many items to further reduce shoplifting, and new tags have also been deployed that sound an alarm if someone attempts to remove it without the proper device, AAFES reported.

    Prior to reaching the checkout, products are monitored by an advanced Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) system that can coordinate the movement of 10, 20 or even 100 unblinking "eyes in the sky." The network of strategically positioned, microprocessor-driven, closed-circuit cameras are controlled by a central console, allowing loss prevention associates to pan side-to-side, tilt up and down or even zoom in closely to examine activity.

    "Every loss prevention method we use has the common goal of discouraging theft before it even happens," AAFES’ Vice President of Loss Prevention Gerald Danish said in a statement. "Of course, visible reminders like security tags and camera systems not only deter criminal behavior, but also identify and document it. So, even if the equipment’s presence doesn’t prevent a crime, the resulting video and/or alarm are almost always invaluable in the resulting prosecution."

    In the event shoplifting is suspected, AAFES Loss Prevention associates turn the issue over to local law enforcement. In addition to possible disciplinary action and/or criminal prosecution, the Federal Claims Collection Act, which began March 1, 2002, allows AAFES to enact a flat, administrative cost (Civil Recovery) of $200. There may be further fees, in addition to the Civil Recovery Program, depending on the condition of the stolen merchandise, the company reported.

    "AAFES associates are stewards of the dividend this command is charged with generating," said Danish. "Activities that diminish exchange shoppers' return on investment can, and do, negatively impact military families' quality of life. Fortunately, our team is leveraging the latest crime fighting tools available to further strengthen the exchange benefit troops, and their families, have come to depend on."

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