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Loss Prevention Managers

History

The loss prevention field started to evolve in the latter part of the 20th century. Before that, retailers had security personnel onsite to monitor shoppers and protect against shoplifting and theft. Companies started to realize that other losses were occurring, such as internal theft by employees, fraud, and other criminal acts, and preventive measures were needed that went beyond the capabilities of store security officers. Closed-circuit television/camera systems were soon used by many retailers to monitor customers as well as employees. This was and continues to be an effective method for protecting against loss but other systems and methods were needed to prevent crimes and loss before it occurred.

Many companies started to rename security departments to loss prevention departments in the 1970s, to take a proactive approach to securing inventory and protecting finances. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, loss prevention managers focused their work on improving the profits for companies. As described in the industry publication LPM Insider, the work of loss prevention executives during this time showed a "measurable reduction in losses, such as inventory shortage, cash loss, credit fraud, expense management, and the liability lines on the profit and loss statement (general and workers' compensation)." 

Since then, many companies have changed the names of their loss prevention departments to asset protection, which reflects a broader, proactive approach to the loss prevention field. Today's loss prevention managers use a combination of data and data analysis, technology, and investigative techniques and tools to improve companies' productivity and efficiency, identify areas of risk for loss, and detect potential theft, fraud, and other crimes. Loss prevention professionals must be knowledgeable about current business and management operations and principles and best practices for loss prevention.

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