Retail company in California using body-worn cameras to deter shoplifters

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

A surge in flash mob robberies and shoplifting at retail stores across Southern California has some companies getting creative with security, and now customers may notice some employees at shops sporting body-worn cameras.  

Retail security employees at clothing outlets like TJ Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods are now wearing body cameras, similar to law enforcement officers, that will record shoppers and, hopefully, deter thieves.  

While loss prevention agents will be clearly marked in vests denoting that they are security employees, not everyone is thrilled about the idea..

“A little too aggressive,” one woman told KTLA’s Sandra Mitchell.  

KTLA consumer reporter David Lazarus said the idea might be a deterrent to thieves.  

“A potential shoplifter goes in the store, sees somebody wearing a tactical vest and says, ‘Okay, I might get recorded, so I’m not going to do it,’” he explained.  

Customers browsing inside a TJ Maxx store in this undated file photo. (KTLA)

Then again, as Lazarus pointed out, there are already cameras at the entrance, overhead and at cash registers in almost every retail shop out there, and if those don’t deter flashmobs and bold shoplifters, body-worn cameras are unlikely to either.  

“File this under desperate times call for desperate measures,” Lazarus said. “It might sound aggressive but doesn’t really change the equation. Store employees are not going to be intervening with a shoplifter.”  

Store employees and security guards struggling to stop the violent flash robbery crew from ransacking a WSS shoe store in Los Angeles. (Los Angeles Police Department)

TJX Companies, Inc., the parent company that owns the trio of discount stores, says in a time when shoplifting has been known to escalate into violent encounters, the new policy is not just meant to deter theft, but to bolster the safety of their customers and employees.  

“I think that’s great, to help self-police loss prevention agents who are going to be conducting their security controls here,” shopper Steve Manjarrez said.  

TJX told KTLA that they only plan to release body-worn recordings to law enforcement or under subpoena.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.