Pregnancy Tests, Cheese, and Razor Blades: What’s the Common Denominator?

They are the top items stolen from supermarkets around the world. The zeitgeist of supermarket theft is shifting. No longer are shoplifters focusing on traditional CRAVED (concealable, removable, available, valuable, enjoyable, disposable) goods such as batteries, brand named drugs, or products like printer cartridges that they try and exchange for cash at a later date. This is partly because many old school CRAVED goods are kept behind counters or carry a security tag. Not so with the humble cheese, which means supermarket security cannot be planed car-philly enough – sorry I couldn’t resist. As for pregnancy tests, they are often used in store and ditched in toilet bins. In Australia alone, supermarkets loose as much as A$2.9 billion annually to acts like these which are labeled, rather euphemistically, by the industry as ‘shrink’.


The people responsible for shrink are not always the usual suspects. Petty thieves are using pregnancy tests in the bathroom, but there are also serial thieves, and organised theft rings. It’s not only adolescents who steal, although for the moment they still make up the largest percentage of age category caught shoplifting. One theft ring in America was composed only of senior citizens, where one would steal an item and another would return it for cash in a few days time. Here in Victoria, there has been a rise in light fingered geriatrics with five shoplifters aged over 70 being caught each week, but often facing reduced or lesser charges because of their (unexpected) age.


There isn’t a major supermarket chain anywhere on the planet that doesn’t employ a security system to reduce its shrinkage. Security measures and processes need to be implemented across all stores in the chain with some uniformity. However, expert knowledge should assist in understanding why some stores are targeted more than others and how security can be tailored in that particular store location. These practices need to be updated as thieves change preferences and practices so the store is always one step ahead. This is the kind of expertise Chartercom can offer chain store operators. Our solutions are not based on yesterday’s information or cookie cutter notions of ‘one security solution suits all’. When products like cheese suddenly enter the top ten choice items for shoplifters, we assist retailers with store plans, security cameras, product placement, and security gates to target this new theft hot spot without neglecting others. Costco selected Chartercom for their security needs because they know we are experts in this field.


For a confidential consultation to assess your stores’ security needs call Chartercom today on 1300 844 844 or visit us at to see how we can help. You would be Edam fool not to! Ok enough of the cheesy jokes.