Loss Prevention Associate Job Description
Retail establishments hire loss prevention associates to minimize theft and other activities that cost the company money. These asset protectors typically work indoors on the store floor among customers or behind the scenes attending to surveillance technology. Hours vary by when the facility is open, so day, night, evening, and weekend shifts are possible. During the holiday season and other peak times, employers may require loss prevention associates to work overtime. Career paths sometimes lead associates to management positions in asset protection, operations, or inventory. Others choose the position as a stepping stone to law enforcement roles.
Loss Prevention Associate Duties and Responsibilities
The responsibilities of loss prevention associates vary based on the facility at which they work. However, our analysis of job postings reveals these tasks as common to most positions:
Patrol the Premises
Loss prevention associates walk around the facility to keep an eye on activities. They look for suspicious behavior indicative of shoplifting or vandalism. Because they try to not draw attention to themselves, loss prevention associates usually wear street clothes rather than a uniform. While on their walks, they also report anything else they notice that the employer may want to attend to, such as a slippery floor or a lightbulb needing replacement.
Monitor Surveillance Equipment
Many stores use security cameras to view what is happening in different areas. Loss prevention associates watch the footage and take appropriate action as necessary. In addition to watching patrons, they notice the activities of store employees, as internal stealing happens too. Associates may also step in if they see a medical emergency taking place.
After witnessing a theft, associates follow the procedures of their employer. Actions may include recovering stolen merchandise, preserving evidence, directing the culprit to a specified area away from other customers, handling conflict, and notifying police. Strict adherence to policy limits company liability.
Documenting incidents is common. Such information is helpful to law enforcement officials, and it serves as a record for the loss prevention associate and their department leaders should any of them get called to court.
Strategize Theft Prevention
Deterring theft is preferable to catching crooks. Loss prevention associates make suggestions for how this goal might be accomplished, such as better lighting or putting high-priced items under a glass case. They also talk to store employees about recognizing signs of shoplifting and how to respond.
Perform Supportive Tasks
As they are concerned with asset protection in general, loss prevention associates may be called upon to verify the accuracy of merchandise returns, document inventory, or check receipts of customers leaving the store.
Loss Prevention Associate Skills and Qualifications
Loss prevention associates are keen observers who pay attention to details and are good at spotting signs of potential trouble. Other elements critical to doing the job well include:
- Independence – since associates often work alone, they should possess self-motivation to stay on task
- Teamwork – on the flip side, loss prevention associates also need to comfortably collaborate with police and other investigators
- Calmness – the ability to remain composed in stressful situations helps to nab thieves and carry out apprehension procedures correctly and effectively
- Stamina – because the position involves a good deal of walking and standing, loss prevention associates need adequate physical fitness and mobility
Loss Prevention Associate Education and Training
At minimum, those in this profession hold a high school diploma or the equivalent. Postsecondary training in criminal justice may improve job prospects, and a bachelor’s degree may be necessary for people wishing to move into higher security positions. Some candidates seek voluntary certification through the Loss Prevention Foundation. New hires should expect a significant period of on-the-job training to become well-versed with the employer’s policies, security measures, and setup. They also will likely be subject to a background check, credit check, and drug test; any past criminal activity or suspicious findings will likely cause dismissal. Some employers require CPR and first aid certification.
Loss Prevention Associate Salary and Outlook
The median annual salary for a loss prevention associate, according to PayScale, is $36,000. Workers on the low end of the pay range earn about $26,000, while the highest paid make more than $61,000.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of security guards, a profession very similar to loss prevention associates, to increase 6 percent by 2026.
If becoming a loss prevention associate sounds like a possible career for you, gain more information through these sources:
Security and Loss Prevention: An Introduction – the seventh edition of this textbook provides a comprehensive look at the industry, its career options, and the challenges facing modern security workers
Retail Security and Loss Prevention – written by a security researcher and consultant with more than 20 years of experience, this book examines common retail concerns and how they can effectively be diagnosed and treated
Loss Prevention Foundation – check out the website of this international organization for online educational materials, career path options, and certification information. For specific questions, consider joining its LinkedIn group, which has more than 11,000 members
Loss Prevention Systems – this blog provides plenty of food for thought for loss prevention associates and similar professionals
Loss Prevention Industry Professionals Association – LPIPA’s mission is “tocollaborate with safety, security, and loss prevention professionals from across the convenience store and retail industry in order to achieve the common goals of proactively ensuring customer and employee safety, reducing controllable losses, and protecting company assets”
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