Fighting the Growing Threat of Crime and Violence in the Retail Space (UF News)

Fighting the Growing Threat of Crime and Violence in the Retail Space

On February 29, retail industry leaders from 47 corporations across the nation convened at the University of Florida for the Integrate Summit, hosted by the Loss Prevention Research Council, delving into strategies to combat the growing challenges from theft, fraud, and violence in retail spaces. This year’s event focused on the threat of an active shooter incident.

More than 150 emergency, law enforcement, technology, and retail corporate executives, including some who have firsthand experience in handling mass shooting situations, reviewed a pre-recorded, highly realistic armed assailant exercise staged just weeks earlier in a UF building. The exercise demonstrated what currently occurs when no early detection technologies and protocols are used.

“It was a productive meeting with some of the industry’s most influential retail loss prevention leaders around the table,” said Dr. Read Hayes, director and founder of the LPRC and a research scientist at UF’s Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering.  “We identified technology and protocol R&D priorities for the coming year. Our team will put together a package that retailers and others can use to help develop their plans and training initiatives.”

For more than 20 years, some of the country’s largest retailers have looked to UF Innovate | Accelerate startup LPRC and its affiliated UF researchers to help stop crime in their stores through research-based trial and testing. While their efforts initially focused on shoplifting and shrinking losses, recent attention has shifted toward preventing violent crimes in retail spaces.

Learn more about Fighting the growing threat of crime and violence in retail spaces.