Safeway, Sobeys beef up security at liquor stores


Watching the stock: Jade Mauricio, assistant manager at a Safeway Liquor Store in Calgary, puts security tags on products on Oct. 27.

Safeway and Sobeys have hired loss prevention officers (LPOs) to better combat shoplifters in their liquor stores.

Safeway Liquor store at 74 Saddletown Circle N.E. is 100 metres from the Saddletown C-Train station, which attracts more people as customers and thieves.

“The rate of shoplifting was increased since the C-Train was opened close to our liquor store,” said Prabhjot Khangura, supervisor at the Saddletown store.

The Safeway liquor store was opened in 2009 but the shoplifting wasn’t a problem at  first.

According to Jade Mauricio, assistant manager at the store, said shoplifting got bad a couple of years ago, and to combat them we are putting security tags and caps on the medium and high prized liquors.

Sobeys and Safeway also give their staff members monthly courses on what to do in instances of shoplifting, robbery, or accident.

Capping bottles: Nirmal Uppal, supervisor at the Saddletown Safeway Liquor Store, puts security caps on bottles of rum, on Oct. 27.

LPOs are there to retrieve stolen products, in cases of shoplifting. They also have the right to handcuff a suspected thief and hand him over to police.

“LPOs are a really nice strategy as they are not in uniform and blend themselves into the crowd, which gives them an upper hand on thieves. They also check bottles, security tags and cameras,” said Mauricio.

Safeway has not permitted its staff members to get into physical contact with a shoplifter as in store regulations staff safety is paramount. What they have the right to do is note down their car information and provide it to the manager.

“In all liquors, whiskey and vodka are the ones that are shoplifted the most and the sizes are 750ml as they are easy to hide in hoodies and jackets,” said Khangura.

Stocking up: Jade Mauricio, assistant manager at a Safeway Liquor Store in northeast Calgary, puts local craft and imported beers on shelves on Oct. 27.