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How Anti-shoplifting Devices Work

        Science | Devices

EAS System Cost

Experts say there are large differences in cost depending on the system, the size of the store and the amount of merchandise to be protected. By using state-of-the-art equipment such as digital signal processing and customized locks that can't be released by common detachers, theft can be reduced by about 60 percent. Considering that store personnel will have more time for assisting shoppers (instead of watching for potential thieves), a reliable EAS system can pay for itself in 1 1/2 to 2 years.

You may have heard news accounts a couple of years ago of research that claimed entry/exit sensors could be harmful to people wearing internal medical devices such as pacemakers and defibrillators. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration acknowledges that internal medical devices might be slightly affected by some EAS systems. However, officials there don't consider this a public health problem. Many Americans were alarmed when the Heart Institute of St. Petersburg, Fla., released results of a two-year study of EAS systems and their possible effects on people wearing pacemakers and defibrillators. Researchers said they found that the electromagnetic fields of anti-shoplifting systems can interfere with cardiac devices if users linger in the magnetic zone between the pedestals or gates. Soon after, the FDA announced that, of the 1 million Americans with internal medical devices such as pacemakers, there had been only 44 reported reactions over the past 10 years related to anti-theft system magnetic fields. Heart Institute researchers encourage people with internal medical devices to avoid any potential problems by moving quickly through these systems as well as metal detectors.

Now that you know more about the kinds of anti-shoplifting devices being used in stores, take a look at this article on reducing shrinkage (an industry term for lost merchandise) by Roger Schmedlen for some additional ideas about security in your imaginary -- or real -- department store.

And if you're someone who needs help conquering a pattern of shoplifting, please contact Shoplifters Anonymous. They can help!