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    SSGRD Hit Hard with Shoplifting and Administrative Costs

    Military frowns on latest theft statistics.

    DALLAS -- Despite new technologies, best efforts and tough legislation, shoplifting and theft at BXs and PXs rose last year, from 7,542 incidents in 2006 to 7,635 in 2007, reported the AAFES News.

    "Shoplifting at the exchange results in a reduced return on investment to our primary shareholders -- the military community," AAFES' vice president of loss prevention Gerald Danish said in a released statement. "Because AAFES is a command with a mission to return earnings to MWR activities, shoplifting at the BX or PX is essentially the same as taking money directly from the pockets of the military families exchanges serve."

    In hopes of combating shrink, upgraded camera systems with DVR capability, educational campaigns focused on the consequences of stealing and a 2002 amendment allowing federal retailers to pursue losses and administrative costs related were instituted.

    While the good news was that the rate of theft only increased by one percent, the bad news is that the average cost of product rose to more than 8 percent, from $119 per incident in 2006 to $129 in 2007, reported AAFES News. Shoplifters focused their efforts toward designer purses and perfumes, name brand electronics and other high-end items. This trend increased costs for the military community as the amount of merchandise cited rose nearly 10 percent, from $898,851 in 2006 to $985,244.

    AAFES has contributed more than $2.4 billion to military quality of life programs in the past 10 years and continues to focus its efforts on reducing theft. If 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, reported AAFES News.

    "No one likes catching shoplifters. In fact, one of our major objectives is to deter shoplifting before it ever happens by educating shoppers of all ages on the exchanges' ability to monitor and record activity throughout the store," Danish told AAFES News. "It's our hope that individuals who might be considering theft will see the security measures, think twice and make the right decision for their family and career."

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