Desperate to ‘De-Escalate’ Crime, TJ Maxx Resorts to Strapping Employees with Body Cameras

When crime in major cities forces companies to outfit their employees as if they were part-time police officers, it’s safe to say that things have gotten a little out of hand.

Stores in major cities already have taken to locking up the most shoplifted items and removing self-checkouts in an effort to combat retail theft.

But some retailers have taken more drastic action.

One of them is TJX Cos., the Massachusetts-based parent of TJ Maxx, Marshall’s and HomeGoods.

Fox Business reported Wednesday that the loss prevention associates in certain TJX stores will wear police-style body cameras in the hopes of deterring thieves.

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A TJX representative said the purpose of this new measure was to “de-escalate incidents, deter crime, and demonstrate to our Associates and customers that we take safety in our stores seriously.”

The person emphasized that the footage from those cameras would be shared only with law enforcement, and only when specifically requested or subpoenaed.

TJX Chief Financial Officer John Klinger put forth these goals during an earnings call last month, saying it was “almost like a de-escalation where people are less likely to do something when they’re being videotaped.”

Klinger said the company has a “high focus on making sure that we balance protecting the goods with making sure that the customers can shop easily and get — and be able to buy the goods while also maintaining safety in our stores.”

Have you noticed crime getting worse?

This measure might seem extreme on the surface.

However, considering that retail companies reported about $142 billion in losses thanks to “shrink” (lost or stolen merchandise) in 2023, according to The Wall Street Journal, it’s clear that TJX decided that desperate times called for desperate measures.

Indeed, a 2023 National Retail Federation survey found that 35 percent of retailers were researching that option, as WJW-TV in Cleveland noted.

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That said, some employees expressed skepticism regarding the effectiveness of the measure to Business Insider.

One said that the cameras were “just for show” and that loss prevention associates can’t do much of anything even if they see someone stealing.

And it’s not just random shoplifters who are responsible for the problem: The National Retail Federation reported organized retail crime has played a big role in the record retail theft.

That’s when organized groups of thieves invade a store and grab as much merchandise as possible.

In the absence of robust police presence in too many major cities, it was a good call for TJX to outfit employees with cameras — but it’s sad that these measures have become necessary.

Years of lax prosecution have led to a situation where respect for the rule of law has been greatly eroded.

A society cannot function for long under those conditions.

Enforcement and prosecution of all crimes must be restored in order to correct this chaos.

Otherwise, employees will need more than just body cameras just to keep themselves safe on the job.


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