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Crime Science

, 6:7

Beyond -What Works-: Advancing Understanding of Crime through Systematic Reviews


BackgroundRetailers routinely use security tags to reduce theft. Presently, however, there has been no attempt to systematically review the literature on security tags. Guided by the acronym EMMIE, this paper set out to 1 examine the evidence that tags are effective at reducing theft, 2 identify the key mechanisms through which tags are expected to reduce theft and the conditions that moderate tag effectiveness, and 3 summarise information relevant to the implementation and economic costs of tagging.

MethodsIn this mixed-methods review, we performed systematic keyword searches of the published and unpublished literature, hand searched relevant journals, conducted forward and backward citation searches and consulted with four retailers. Studies were included if they reported an explicit goal of reducing the theft or shrinkage of items through the use of security tags in retail environments.

ResultsWe identified 50 eligible studies, eight of which reported quantitative data on the effectiveness of tags in retail environments. Across these eight studies, five showed positive results associated with the introduction of tags, but heterogeneity in the type of tag and reported outcome measures precluded a meta-analysis. We identified three mechanisms through which tags might plausibly reduce theft—increase the risks, reduce the rewards, increase the effort—which were found to vary by tag type, and their activation dependent on five broad categories of moderator: retail store and staff, customers including shoplifters, tag type, product type, and the involvement of the police and criminal justice system. Implementation challenges documented in the literature related mainly to staffing issues and tagging strategy. Finally, although estimates are available on the costs of tagging, our searches identified no high-quality published economic evaluations of tagging.

ConclusionsThrough applying the EMMIE framework this review highlighted the complexity involved in security tagging in retail environments, whereby different kinds of tags are expected to reduce theft through different casual mechanisms which are dependent on a distinctive configuration of conditions. Based on the available evidence it is difficult to determine the effectiveness of tags as a theft reduction measure, albeit there is suggestive evidence that more visible tags are associated with greater reductions in theft than less visible tags.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-s40163-017-0068-y contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Autor: Aiden Sidebottom - Amy Thornton - Lisa Tompson - Jyoti Belur - Nick Tilley - Kate Bowers

Fuente: https://link.springer.com/

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