Anti-theft procedures and fixtures a randomized controlled trial of two situational crime prevention measures Hayes Downs Blackwood 2011
Objectives This study was designed to test two problem-focused situational crime
prevention treatments (protective display fixtures and special high-loss product
handling procedures) on loss and sales levels of a perennial ‘hot product’ (premium
shaving blade replacement packs).
Methods The study design was a 57-store location randomized controlled trial using
Chi-square analyses and effect size estimates (i.e., odds ratios with 95% confidence
Results The study provided evidence that both treatments were both efficacious and
cost-effective with fixtures reducing losses by 56% and the procedures reducing losses
by 58% in the post-test period when compared to non-treated control locations.
Conclusions The evidence indicated the tested treatments helped cost-effectively
control a chronic theft problem in the test stores. The outcome provided support for
using the SARA problem-solving process to apply situational crime prevention
measures with carefully articulated mechanisms of action. The relatively small sample
size from a single retail operation limits generalizability, but the studied theft problem’s
dynamics are fairly common across retail store types and geographic locations. Future
research should strive to measure displacement and diffusion side effects as well as time
to treatment therapeutic level and/or deterioration to add further insight.