Loss Prevention Management: More than Catching Shoplifters

“Just as loss prevention professionals need to anticipate a variety of potential threats and cope with rapidly changing business conditions, our academic content must stay current.”

Robert Hanson, NMU Professor and Department Head of Criminal Justice

As claimed by Dan Faketty, VP of Asset Protection and Safety for Southeastern Grocers LLC, NMU’s loss prevention management online bachelor’s degree is the “best-kept secret in the LP industry.” The niche program was developed in response to the observation that a significant percentage of the loss prevention workforce, although professionally competent, lacked the academic credentials to advance in their career.

NMU Professor and Department Head of Criminal Justice, Robert Hanson, explains how the program remains relevant despite an ever changing industry. “Just as loss prevention professionals need to anticipate a variety of potential threats and cope with rapidly changing business conditions, our academic content must stay current.” We accomplish this in 3 ways:

  1. Our instructors have extensive professional fulltime paid experience in the field and they are content experts in their specialty. While a course title such as retail investigation or legal issues in loss prevention doesn’t change, some of the course content changes to include current threats and trends.
  2. We regularly review and revise an entire course to take advantage of technical enhancements to our course management software. For example, students can now leave audio comments on the discussion boards and upload their PowerPoint presentations for the class to view.
  3. We look for new course topics based on feedback from graduates or emerging topics of interest as reflected in conference themes at NRF Protect or RILA. We are currently looking into a course or certificate in cybercrime and cybersecurity. The State of Michigan recently designated NMU as a regional cyber hub with enhanced access to a cyber range, which is a secure internet separate from normal public access internet.

Loss prevention managers protect company assets while working to maintain profitability within an organization. Contrary to a common misconception, loss prevention is not simply sitting behind a screen waiting to catch shoplifters. LP managers are often responsible for implementing policies to reduce fraud, shrink and theft, and maintaining systems for recording incidents.

“If you think you can come in and be successful without a bachelor’s degree in this field, you’re right, but you’re only going to get so far before you hit a ceiling.”

Jackie Cato, Current Student
Manager of Loss Prevention Cracker Barrel

“I fell into this position by accident. I started in loss prevention right out of high school at 18 and became a manager by 19. From there I just kept going. Bachelor’s degrees are not required for this field but what most are not considering is the added benefit of having a four year degree,” said Jackie Cato, a current student in the program. “No amount of special training is going to teach you skills like communication and management – I didn’t realize I needed these skills until I learned them in this program. If you think you can come in and be successful without a bachelor’s degree in this field, you’re right, but you’re only going to get so far before you hit a ceiling. Most high level management look for a bachelor’s degree to get to the director position.”

Professor Hanson was recently invited to join the National Retail Federation’s LP Advisory Council, a rare experience for someone outside of the retail field. “The Addition of Professor Robert Hanson to the NRF LP Council is a real win-win for our Asset Protection Community! Hanson brings a wealth of academic research, concepts, and ideas to the table as well as a direct connection to our future youth and emerging LP leaders. He has built a first class program that enhances the entire profession,” commented Bob Moraca, VP of Loss Prevention for the National Retail Federation.

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