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  • Writer's pictureHeather Petrone

Why Employees Shouldn’t Stop Shoplifters

Shoplifting is a common issue faced by many retail stores, leading to significant financial losses for businesses. One may think or expect retailers would encourage their employees to intervene and stop shoplifters. However, this is not the case as stopping shoplifters is risky and dangerous. Recently, one of our employees was hurt trying to do this exact thing, so we’ve decided to shed some light as to why employees should not take matters into their own hands when dealing with shoplifters and why it is essential to prioritize safety above all else.

Lack of Proper Training

Most retail employees and retail merchandisers are not trained in security or apprehending shoplifters. Attempting to stop a shoplifter without the necessary knowledge and skills can lead to accidents and injuries, both for the employees and the shoplifters themselves. In such situations, emotions may run high, and actions can quickly escalate, putting everyone involved at risk.

Legal Complications

Taking the law into one's own hands can have severe legal consequences for employees and the store. If an employee detains a suspected shoplifter without proper authority, they may be held liable for assault, false imprisonment, or other criminal charges. It is crucial for businesses to let trained security professionals and law enforcement handle such situations to ensure they are resolved legally and fairly.

Employee Safety Comes First

The safety of employees should be the top priority for any business. Encouraging employees to confront shoplifters puts them in harm's way, making them vulnerable to physical altercations or even retaliation from potentially dangerous individuals. Companies have a responsibility to protect their employees, and advocating for employees to refrain from stopping shoplifters helps ensure their safety.

Escalation and Violence

A situation that starts as a simple shoplifting incident can quickly escalate into something far more dangerous when employees try to intervene. Confronting shoplifters might provoke aggression or even lead to weapon involvement. In cases where the shoplifter is mentally unstable or under the influence of substances, an employee's attempt to apprehend them can lead to unpredictable outcomes.

Liability and Insurance Concerns

If an Apollo or other retailer employee is injured while trying to stop a shoplifter, the employer may be held responsible for medical expenses and any potential legal actions. Additionally, insurance companies may not cover incidents related to employee intervention, leaving Apollo or the retailer exposed to financial losses.

Focus on Customer Service

Employees are hired to provide excellent customer service and ensure a pleasant shopping experience for customers. Being preoccupied with stopping shoplifters distracts from this primary objective and may create an unwelcoming atmosphere for legitimate customers. It is more beneficial for employees to remain attentive to customer needs and leave security matters to trained professionals.

While shoplifting is undoubtedly a concern for retail businesses, employees should not take it upon themselves to stop suspected shoplifters. Prioritizing employee safety, avoiding legal complications, and maintaining a focus on customer service should be the key concerns for any store. By having well-trained security personnel and working closely with local law enforcement, businesses can address shoplifting incidents efficiently and responsibly while safeguarding the well-being of their employees and customers. If you're an Apollo employee, remember, do not engage. Alert the Manager on Duty so they can reach out to security or local law enforcement. If you have any further questions, feel free to reach out to hr at or call (813) 712-2525.

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