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SECURITY THREAT OF PILFERAGE
(Condensed from the Manual for ARMY Intelligence volume I, Series of 2003)

Webster defines pilferage as taking small items that don't belong to you, usually on a repeated basis. Pilferage is taking that don't belong to you, of any quantity or monetary value.

Pilferage is probably the most common and annoying hazard with which security personnel will be concerned. Pilferage, particularly petty pilferage, is frequently difficult to detect, hard to prove, and dangerous to ignore. Yearly military installation property loss throughout the world increase millions of pesos each year if subjected to uncontrolled pilferage. However, the risk incurred cannot be measured in terms of pesos alone. Loss of critical supplies for tactical units could result in unnecessary loss of life and danger to national defense. In some areas, losses may assume such proportions as to jeopardize the mission of the installation. All installations and facilities can anticipate loss from pilferage.

To determine the severity of this hazard at any given installation or facility there is need to determine the amount of loss which may be occurring. Unfortunately, this is not always an easy task. Accounting methods may not be designed to pinpoint thefts, consequently such losses remain undisclosed or are lumped together with other shrinkages, thus effectively camouflaging them for all practical purposes.

PROFILES OF PILFERERS:

Casual Pilferer - is one who steals primarily because he/she is unable to resist the temptation of an unexpected opportunity and has little fear of detection.

Systematic Pilferer - is one who steals according to preconceived plans and steals any and all types of supplies to sell for cash or barter for other valuable or desirable commodities.

Common Danger Signs that a Pilferer is at work:

  • Dedication and devotion to work
  • Increase in personal financial spending
  • Refusal to accept office, activity or installation movement control procedures

Elements that Induce Dishonesty:

  • Target of opportunity
  • High personal need or desire
  • Rationalization of personal actions

Opportunities of Pilferage:

  • Pilferage may occur anywhere
  • New and greater opportunities for pilferage are present when supplies are being transported in trucks, trains, planes or ship
  • Shipping and receiving operations are extremely vulnerable to systematic pilferage
  • Trash disposal and salvage disposal activities offer excellent opportunities to the systematic pilferer to gain access to valuable material

Control measures against Pilferage:

  1. Casual Pilferage
    • Search individuals and vehicles leaving the installation at unannounced time and places
    • Aggressive security education program
    • Supervisory personnel to set a proper example and maintain a desirable moral climate for all employees
    • All employees must be impressed with the fact that they have responsibility to report any loss to proper authorities
    • Identification of all tools and equipment by some mark or code (where feasible) is necessary so that government property can be identifiable
    • Mutual respect between security personnel and other employees of the installation must be maintained if the facility is to be protected from other dangerous forms of human hazards.
  2. Systematic Pilferage
    • Establish security, surveillance of all exits from the installation
    • Establish an effective package and materiel control system
    • Locate parking areas for private vehicles outside the perimeter fencing of the installation
    • Eliminate potential thieves during the hiring procedure by carefull screening and observation
    • Investigate all losses quickly and efficiently
    • Establish an effective key control system
    • Establish adequate security patrols to check building grounds, perimeter and likely to locations for clandestine storage of property removed from its proper location
    • Install mechanical and electrical intrusion detection devices where applicable and practical
    • Coordinate with the supply personnel to establish costumer identification to authenticate supply release documents at warehouses and exit gates
    • Establish appropriate perimeter fencing, lighting and parking facilities and effective pedestrian, railways and vehicle gate security controls
  3. Employee Theft
    • Pre-employment screening
    • Analysis of how employees steal
    • Analysis of opportunities for theft
    • Management of employees caught
    • Prosecution of employees caught stealing
  4. Audit Procedures
    • A detailed item/merchandise audit procedure conducted once yearly will greatly assist in detecting pilferers