Loss Prevention academic track targets fast-growing field

Industry partnership includes professional accreditation, guaranteed job interviews

Loss-PreventionA new bachelor’s degree specialty at the University of Indianapolis is among the first in the nation to prepare graduates for one of the hottest fields in criminal justice: retail loss prevention. Developed in cooperation with the Loss Prevention Foundation, the program launches this fall as a Loss Prevention concentration in UIndy’s Criminal Justice major and as a minor to supplement other disciplines.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in retail loss prevention and security are projected to grow by 12 percent through 2022, more than twice the rate of other criminal justice specialties such as law enforcement and corrections.

“There is high demand for graduates with these specific skills,” said Kevin Whiteacre, associate professor and chair of UIndy’s Department of Sociology & Criminal Justice. Far from the “mall cop” stereotype, Whiteacre said, loss prevention professionals work proactively on issues such as crime prevention, employee safety, data protection, supply chain integrity and crisis management, in positions ranging from specialists for individual retailers to independent consultants to managers and executives for major corporations. “They’re not just out there nabbing shoplifters,” Whiteacre said. “These professionals play an important role in strategic planning and decision making for their employers and clients.”

Along with courses in crime prevention and criminal investigation, the interdisciplinary loss prevention concentration also introduces students to finance, management, information systems and other business fundamentals. More details are available at www.uindy.edu/cas/sociology-criminal-justice/criminal-justice.

“Though the curriculum is tailored to one industry, it also builds competencies that will benefit students whatever career they choose to pursue,” Whiteacre said. Under the partnership with the Loss Prevention Foundation, students in the concentration will emerge with the foundation’s nationally recognized Loss Prevention Qualified accreditation. And through the foundation’s Academic Partners Program, graduates will benefit from job fairs and guaranteed interviews with employers recruiting loss prevention professionals. “UIndy has created a unique program designed to fill the needs of major retail corporations with millions of dollars of profitability on the line,” said Gene Smith, president of The Loss Prevention Foundation. “The retail loss prevention and asset protection field offers a wide spectrum of career options and a potential for professional growth that makes this profession one of the hidden treasures of the occupational marketplace.”