Target Shoplifting Policy

With thousands of customers visiting its large stores every day, Target becomes an easy target for shoplifters who can sneak out with stolen items undetected. So when it comes to security and prevention of theft, you might be wondering – what is Target’s shoplifting policy?

Target Shoplifting Policy

Target employs a strict shoplifting policy to prevent and address shoplifting at its stores. This involves surveillance systems with facial recognition, loss prevention security guards, and several deterrence strategies. Punishments vary from write-ups and fines to store bans and police involvement.

What Is Target’s Shoplifting Policy?

Target has a strict shoplifting policy, with security officers and surveillance systems in every store working to identify and apprehend shoplifters.

If the theft is of a high monetary value or dangerous goods are stolen, Target will involve the police and ban the shoplifters from future entry.

However, Target employs a no-chase policy for shoplifters who leave the store and try to run for everyone’s safety.

Does Target Have Monitored Security Cameras In-Store?

Target has extensive security systems in its stores, including 24/7 monitoring of security cameras.

These cameras have facial recognition technology and image analytics software to assist the company in preventing and following up on shoplifting.

Therefore, customers are under constant video surveillance from the moment they enter the store, and in some cases, they are even under CCTV surveillance in the store’s parking lots.

Can Target Stop Shoplifters?

Can Target Stop Shoplifters?

Target’s Asset Protection security officers generally do not stop before the suspected shoplifter exits the store.

However, they can receive a “variance to exit” authorization from the Asset Protection Team Lead, requesting security to stop a person in certain situations.

Usually, for this to occur, the person must be observed approaching, taking, and concealing the merchandise and then observed purposefully passing the last point where payment for the merchandise is to be made.

Can Target Detain Shoplifters?

Target security guards tasked with asset protection have the general authority to detain someone as long as they have reasonable evidence.

Suppose Target’s security officers have witnessed a theft and observed the customer leaving the store without paying for the merchandise. In that case, they can ask the customer to step aside or into a back room for investigation.

Can Target Search Shoppers’ Bags For Shoplifted Goods?

As long as the procedure is voluntary and the customer agrees, Target can check your shopping bag if it suspects you are shoplifting.

However, they cannot search your clothing or possessions like a purse.

Target security officers approach minor thefts more intimidatingly, trying to convince the shoplifter to leave the merchandise within the store and walk out without it.

Does Target Have A No Chase Policy For Shoplifters?

Target’s in-store security officers are not allowed to chase after shoplifters if they try and run.

The company maintains a strict “no chase” policy, so if a shoplifter runs for it, Target’s security officers must follow it from a safe distance while maintaining observation.

Meanwhile, Target’s security personnel can relay that information to the police, who are responsible for catching the shoplifter.

Why Does Target Have A No Chase Policy For Shoplifters?

Why Does Target Have A No Chase Policy For Shoplifters?

Target does not pursue shoplifters outside of the store for safety reasons.

The company puts the safety of employees and customers first, letting the police take care of situations that could escalate dangerously.

Additionally, if the suspected customer was not shoplifting, they could institute a lawsuit against the company, incurring unnecessary liabilities for this error.

Any requests to see the purchase receipt or check inside a customer’s shopping bag as they exit the store are entirely voluntary on the customer’s part, and they must give consent to show proof of purchase.

Does Target Press Charges For Shoplifting?

Target cannot press charges against a shoplifter for stealing goods from its stores.

It can file a police report or request a prosecutor’s office to step in, but the company does not have the authority to charge an individual with anything directly.

Depending on the local state law, Target can issue a civil demand letter requesting monetary compensation following a theft incident, which you can either pay or ignore and risk a small claims case raised against you.

Does Target Build Cases Against Shoplifters?

Some Target employees say the company can build cases against repeat shoplifters.

Target has a strategic method of dealing with shoplifters to mitigate theft across their retail stores.

It is common for Target to not immediately apprehend shoplifters who repeatedly steal merchandise from the store, waiting instead for the total value of the stolen goods to reach a certain amount eligible for a felony-level charge.

Although Target’s policy does not explicitly state this method, employees attest to this practice in some locations.

Does Target Keep Track Of Shoplifters?

Why Does Target Have A No Chase Policy For Shoplifters?

To help with loss prevention, some Target stores will keep a binder with surveillance camera images of shoplifters who have been identified but not caught.

Target also keeps track of the items stolen and the date the theft occurred if a future legal case requires this evidence.

What Happens If You Get Caught Shoplifting At Target?

It depends on the store and the state’s law, but generally, one of three things will occur if you are caught seriously shoplifting at Target:

  • Asset Protection security officers will detain you and attempt to resolve the situation in-store
  • You could be banned from the store completely, with more severe consequences if you try to get around this ban
  • The police could become involved, and depending on the monetary value of the theft, fines or charges can be leveled against you.

If the merchandise is relinquished and returned to the store, photographs are taken and written up before restocking it to the selling floor.

However, if the item cannot be restocked as it is damaged or soiled, the store will ask for full restitution for the item’s value.

How Are Shoplifters Prosecuted Once They Are Caught At Target?

If the police become involved in prosecution, the shoplifter will face charges of felony shoplifting if the merchandise value exceeds a minimum amount that is generally between $500 and $1000 in most states.

However, suppose the shoplifter has taken less than $500. In that case, they will likely be charged with a misdemeanor or felony, and a shoplifting charge may also be listed under petty theft or another type of robbery.

How Serious Is It To Shoplift At Target?

How Serious Is It To Shoplift At Target?

Target takes loss prevention very seriously, running one of the top-rated forensic laboratories in America with locations in Las Vegas and Minneapolis.

The company uses these services to solve organized crime through video and image analysis, fingerprint identification, and computer forensics.

In short, Target has a team of high-level Loss Prevention enforcers who will do everything possible to prevent and dissuade customers from shoplifting.

Furthermore, the severity of punishment and law enforcement involvement will depend on the level of theft and the perpetrator—Target tends to be more lenient with first-time, teenage offenders and disenfranchised community members.

How Does Target Deter Shoplifting At Its Stores?

Target has a very active operation to deter shoplifters.

Video surveillance, undercover store security officers, and uniformed personnel are posted at some exits, which works to discourage any shoplifters.

Additionally, Target employees throughout the store are trained to notice potential shoplifting activity and deter it with non-combative methods, like approaching the customer and asking if they need any help finding items.

To learn more, you can see our other posts on if Target monitors their cameras, the Best Buy shoplifting policy, and the Kroger shoplifting policy.

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of

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