We visited stores like Walmart and Home Depot to see how they are tackling the industry's $95 billion shoplifting problem. We found an alarming amount of locked up items with security cameras watching every aisle.

We visited stores like Walmart and Home Depot to see how they are tackling the industry's $95 billion shoplifting problem. We found an alarming amount of locked up items with security cameras watching every aisle.
Power tools locked in merchandise cages at Home Depot.
Home Depot locks away many of its power tools to prevent theft.Dominick Reuter/Insider
  • Retail theft has become a $95 billion problem for the industry, per the National Retail Federation.

  • We visited four retailers' stores to see what anti-theft measures they are putting into place.

  • The stores had an abundance of spider wraps, items under lock-and-key, and security cameras.

Industry groups say retail theft has become a $94.5 billion problem.

Courtroom with piles of personal care items stolen in organized retail crime
Some of the more than $200,000 in stolen retail goods seized by the San Francisco Police Department from a man who was reselling them online.San Francisco Police Department via AP

Source: Insider

And organized retail crime has skyrocketed and exacerbated retailers' problems, according to theft prevention experts.

A table of stolen Balenciaga bags at a law enforcement press conference.
Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond Tierney, during a press conference in the law library at the Suffolk County Courthouse on March 16, 2022, announces the indictments of four New Jersey residents who stole thousands of dollars worth of purses from retail store Balenciaga in East Hampton, New York.James Carbone/Newsday RM via Getty Images

Leaders at major retailers nationwide, like Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, have sounded the alarm, saying that stores will close and/or prices will rise if theft doesn't slow down.

Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon addresses a business leader panel discussion as part of the U.S.-Africa Business Forum in Washington
Walmart's CEO Doug McMillon.REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Source: Insider

We visited several big-box stores in the Midwest to see how retailers are approaching anti-theft measures.

Walmart camera
Walmart has installed cameras on medication and beauty aisles in a store in Louisville, Kentucky.Ben Tobin

Walmart installed a mobile surveillance "lot cop" in a parking lot in a store in Louisville, Kentucky, to try to scare away shoplifters.

Lot Cop Walmart
Walmart is trying to deter theft by installing cameras in its parking lot.Ben Tobin

Surveillance continued into the store, with signs warning customers that there are "security cameras in use" and "reducing theft helps us all by keeping prices low."

Walmart Security cameras
Walmart installed security cameras on beauty and medicine aisles to deter theft.Ben Tobin

Like other retailers, Walmart locked many items, like beauty and electronics, behind glass doors, requiring customers to get an employee to retrieve products for them.

Items locked away at Walmart
Walmart locks many beauty items behind glass doors.Ben Tobin

The store also locked a plethora of items in plastic boxes, requiring them to be removed at check out.

Items locked in silicon boxes at Walmart
Walmart locks away some items in plastic boxes.Ben Tobin

Walmart covered items throughout the store with spider wrap alarms, which will sound off if an item is stolen from a store.

Locked up item at Walmart
Walmart places spider wrap alarms on many of its products.Ben Tobin

Spider wraps were also a common sight at a Target near Madison, Wisconsin.

A display of air-fryers with spider wraps at Target.
Dominick Reuter/Insider

Bundles of loose wraps were kept in a restocking cart to be added to merchandise before putting it on the shelf.

A restocking cart with spider wraps and media security cases at Target.
Dominick Reuter/Insider

A video game display at Target used a tether to let shoppers look at a title, but required staff assistance to get a copy from a locker in order to buy it.

A video game display secured with tethers and lockers at Target.
Dominick Reuter/Insider

Most personal care items were available on the shelf at Target, but Plan B emergency contraceptive pills were placed in security boxes.

Plan B emergency contraceptive pills in security boxes at Target.
Dominick Reuter/Insider

Elsewhere in Target's beauty section, the only items with security RF tags were fake eyelashes and press-on nails.

Fake eyelashes with security tags at Target.
Dominick Reuter/Insider

Target protects its shopping carts with a cart retrieval system made by Gatekeeper Systems.

A shopping cart retrieval system made by Gatekeeper at Target.
Dominick Reuter/Insider

An estimated 2 million shopping carts are stolen each year, costing retailers an estimated $800 million.

A row of shopping carts at Target.
Dominick Reuter/Insider

At a Home Depot in Madison, Wisconsin, one of several security cameras monitoring the front entrance showed shoppers that they were on camera.

A security camera monitoring the entrance at Home Depot.
Dominick Reuter/Insider

Household electrical fuses were hung on twist-release displays, which make it harder to pull several off the rack at once.

Twist-release displays of fuses at Home Depot.
Dominick Reuter/Insider

Higher-priced power tools were locked in merchandise cages at Home Depot, though it wasn't indicated whether a purchase was needed to activate them.

Power tools locked in merchandise cages at Home Depot.
Dominick Reuter/Insider

A padlock on a merchandise cage reminded store workers at Home Depot to personally bring items to the checkout.

A note to store workers on a merchandise cage padlock at Home Depot.
Dominick Reuter/Insider

Some battery packs that were locked in cages were also tagged with RF devices at Home Depot.

Battery packs with security tags in a merchandise cage at Home Depot.
Dominick Reuter/Insider

But application of security tags was a bit inconsistent across the store.

A security tag on battery packs at Home Depot.
Dominick Reuter/Insider

Home Depot also used locks and non-working units to display items, like these nail guns.

Nail guns on display at Home Depot.
Dominick Reuter/Insider

At a Lowe's in Louisville, Kentucky, power tools on display were protected with small alarms from Swiss company Pataco.

Pataco alarms at Lowe's
Lowe's uses Pataco alarms to ensure displayed power tools don't get stolen/Ben Tobin

With other items like leaf blowers, the store had less intense anti-theft measures, using traditional locks to keep them safe.

Lowe's leaf blowers
Leaf blowers are locked up at Lowe's.Ben Tobin

Lowe's also locked away many of its items, particularly power tools, behind caged doors...

Lowe's locks items away
Lowe's locks many power tools away behind caged doors.Ben Tobin

... and announced an initiative this year where some power tools won't work unless activated while being purchased.

Lowe's power tools
Lowe's has taken many measures to protect its power tools.Ben Tobin

Source: Insider

Lowe's also had security cameras on several of its power tool aisles.

Lowe's security
Ben Tobin

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