Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) Systems

According to security experts, the most effective ways to reduce shoplifting  are CCTV and Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS). Separately, these are good options. Used together, experts say, they’re almost unbeatable. In EAS, Hard tags and paper labels are detected as they pass through a system or gates in a store, emitting an audible and visual alarm. According to the Association of Automated Identification Manufacturers, over 800,000 EAS systems have been installed worldwide. Using an EAS system enables the retailer to display popular items on the floor, where they can be seen, rather than putting them in locked cases or behind the counter.

Loss prevention expert Robert L. DiLonardo, says “new EAS technologies are being produced — not only to reduce shoplifting — but also to help increase sales, lower labor costs, speed inventory, improve stockroom logistics and, one day, to replace inventory record-keeping. But for now, we’ll stick to the role of EAS in battling shoplifting in your imaginary store!”

There are 3 types of EAS technologies in the retail industry, Radio frequency (RF) Acustomagnetic (AM), and Electromagnetic (EM), which will be fully explained in our next article. The type of EAS system dictates how wide the exit/entrance aisle may be, and the physics of a particular EAS tag and technology determines which frequency range is used to create a surveillance area. These EAS systems operate on different principles, are not compatible with each other and have specific benefits and disadvantages.

Although they differ from each other, the end result is the same, detection of different tags and labels as they pass through the gates. The use of any technology may be dependent on the types of goods being protected and the store environment. Hard tags and labels must be removed at point of sale to avoid alarming the systems or gates at door. Different magnetic and manual detachers remove the pins from the tags safely and effortlessly. To deactivate or kill a label, an electronic magnetic pad, which sends pulses strong enough to interrupt the circuit in the label, or depending on the technology, demagnetizes the label. If the item has not been properly deactivated or detached by the clerk, when it is carried through the gates, the alarm will sound.

The use of EAS systems does not completely eliminate shoplifting. However, experts say, theft can be reduced by 60 percent or more when a reliable system is used. By common sense, a shoplifter would pass on a store protected by EAS and go to the next unprotected store.


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