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One Act of Retail Violence Can Cost Stores $2.5 Million

Over the past two years, an uptick in organized retail crime in American retail stores has been correlated with an increase in violent incidents that sometimes turn deadly. D&D Daily reported an average of more than one retail death per day in 2016, and 2017 has seen a 15% increase in violent deaths in stores over the same time period in 2016.

It usually happens like this: a well-meaning retail loss prevention team member spots a theft in progress, and is fatally injured while moving in to stop the crime.

Obviously, all life is priceless, and even a single death is too many. But each retail death also has a significant economic consequence . To uncover the details, I examined some workplace violence statistics and tried to make the revenue numbers more specific to big box retail stores. It turns out that the cost of a single retail death can be almost $2.5 million.

Let’s take an in-depth look at the costs that can be associated with a single retail death.Event Cost Incident debriefing of managers and employeesUp to $3942Business closure due to incidentUp to $120,630 per day¹Revenue lost due to productivity drop (assumes for 6 weeks after the incident there is a 25% productivity decline)$1,266,6152Clean up of incident area/crime scene$2,000Increase of annual health care premiums due to escalating use of psychological services (20% of employees need counseling for 3 months, 10% for 6 months and 1% for 12 months)$5,000Increase in annual worker’s compensation rate premiums$3,000Lawsuit settlement (assumed out of court settlement at 60% of the average award from a judge of $500,000.00)$300,000Public relations campaign, marketing, communication strategy with stakeholders to counter negative press and restore confidence in company$10,000Replacement cost for 10% turnover of workforce, e.g., 25 managers and 75 employees (assumes 25% of salary replacement cost for managers and 10% for employees against national figures of 50-100% of salary for replacement cost)$768,750.00

Total Cost: $2,479,750

How to Prevent Retail Violence with Face Recognition

So how does face recognition prevent violence? The FaceFirst biometric surveillance system scans visitors to retail stores in real time and matches them against a database of known shoplifters, organized retail crime associates and violent criminals. If there is a match, our system instantly alerts security so they can monitor the individual. Some retailers prefer to approach known shoplifters and offer customer service. And in cases where apprehension is the goal, many of our retail customers have a strong relationship with local law enforcement. In such cases, criminals often find that the police are waiting for them outside once they leave the store.

All told, the goal is to prevent crime from occurring in the first place, thereby significantly lowering the likelihood of violence. While there is no way to prevent 100% of violent incidents, face recognition can radically reduce violence in stores. Our data shows that our face recognition system has been shown to reduce violent in-store incidents by 91%.

To learn more about how face recognition is transforming retail security, check out our 5-Minute Guide to Face Recognition for Retail.


  1. The D&D Daily

  2. Statistica

  3. Wikipedia

Footnote: ¹Estimate derived from Walmart’s public revenue numbers


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