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Read Hayes - University of Florida. Gainesville, FL, US

Read Hayes

Research Scientist | University of Florida

Gainesville, FL, UNITED STATES

Read Hayes' research team aims to better protect vulnerable people and places from crime victimization.


Read Hayes is a research scientist/criminologist and director of the Loss Prevention Research Council (LPRC). The LPRC includes over 70 major retail chains and 100 solution/tech partners. The chains and partners work together year-round in VR and sim labs with scientists and practitioners to increase safety and stability by reducing theft, fraud and violence via better process and smart technologies.

Areas of Expertise (11)

Active assailant shooter

Artificial Intelligence


Fear of crime



Mass robs

Organized retail crime



Violence Against Women

Media Appearances (10)

From fighting shoplifting to pioneering gene therapies, the startups in this accelerator are on the front lines of “super creativity”

Forbes  online


When it comes to studying the nation’s shoplifting epidemic, Richelle Ross and Diego Rodriguez have a front-row seat. Working under the guidance of Read Hayes, a research scientist and criminologist at University of Florida, they are part of the Loss Prevention Research Council.

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Open houses and sticky fingers

The New York Times  online


When my grandmother passed away in 1981, my mother, the executor of her estate, oversaw the selling of her one-bedroom apartment on 72nd Street and Third Avenue. Doyle, the New York-based appraising company, assessed her furnishings, and her personal and sentimental belongings were removed.

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As retail crime evolves, this team stays one step ahead

Explore Research at the University of Florida  online


In a 360-degree immersive simulation lab, floor-to-ceiling projections recreate retail environments that allow research scientist Read Hayes and his collaborators to test new security interventions before they appear at a store near you.

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NBC News 'Put an end to this madness': Retailers ramp up security after wave of robberies

Yahoo! News  online


Best Buy shoppers can expect to find more high-value merchandise behind locked shelves and a larger security presence in certain stores. Along Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California, a pair of private security companies are patrolling the ritzy shopping district in response to attempted smash-and-grab robberies at Louis Vuitton and Saks Fifth Avenue stores last weekend.

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Flash mob robberies have some South Florida retail stores on high alert

CBS Miami  online


The holiday shopping season is upon us and officials say criminals are becoming more brazen, targeting stores in large groups. "We've seen organized shoplifting. We've seen violent shoplifting. But we've never seen the type of organized shoplifting that we've seen lately," said Read Hayes, a research scientist at the University of Florida and the Loss Prevention Research Council.

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How retailers can improve self-checkout

The Wall Street Journal  online


Cashier or self-checkout? That’s the difficult question consumers often face when they finish shopping. The self-checkout line may be shorter, but given all the things that could go wrong, it may not be faster.

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The use of autonomous mobile robots in retail

Loss Prevention Magazine  online


You’re visiting the grocery store when the announcement “spill in aisle four” sounds off. Since you’re on aisle three, you take a peek to see if you might help out. As you round the corner, you notice the spill actually means a customer got sick, really sick, and somebody is going to need to deal with a pretty unpleasant and potentially infectious situation.

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Group of crimefighters using VR, help from former crooks to cut down shoplifting

ABC 7 Denver  online


ACE Hardware in downtown Denver is having a hard time with shoplifting. “It’s just a huge spike in theft when the sun goes down,” employee Cole Howard said. Howard says there’s been a major increase in theft since the start of the pandemic. There's been so much stealing that staff has added more security devices to protect their products.

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Stealing to survive: More Americans are shoplifting food as aid runs out during the pandemic

The Washington Post  online


Early in the pandemic, Joo Park noticed a worrisome shift at the market he manages near downtown Washington: At least once a day, he’d spot someone slipping a package of meat, a bag of rice or other food into a shirt or under a jacket.

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Inside the University of Florida's anti-shoplifting 'store'

Fox 13 Tampa Bay  online


We see crazy robbery attempts caught on security camera all the time. But at a "store" in Gainesville, the crimes are on purpose, and the cameras are only a small part of the picture. That’s where University of Florida researchers are getting inside the mind of a shoplifter, with the help of new technology like “synthetic DNA."

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Articles (3)

Human mobile robot interaction in the retail environment

Scientific Data

Yuhao Chen et. al


As technology advances, Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) is boosting overall system efficiency and productivity. However, allowing robots to be present closely with humans will inevitably put higher demands on precise human motion tracking and prediction. Datasets that contain both humans and robots operating in the shared area are receiving growing attention as they may facilitate a variety of robotics and human-systems research.

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Testing the effectiveness of anti-theft wraps across product types in retail environments: a randomized controlled trial

Journal of Experimental Criminology

Read Hayes et. al


Anti-theft wire-wraps were tested on three high-theft product categories (cordless electric drills, weight loss supplements and skincare products) in retail stores to estimate protective effects across product categories. This study sampled 56 retail locations, stratified into high, medium and low-inventory loss (also referred to as shrink or shrinkage) stores. Treatment was assigned randomly within strata to retail locations.

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Situational determinants of enhanced public view monitor (ePVM) noticeability in retail environments: a randomized controlled trial

Security Journal

Stuart Kenneth Strome et. al


External theft is a pervasive phenomenon, resulting in billions of dollars of lost revenue for US retailers each year (in: Retail Knowledge, Retail Fraud Survey, 2015, Volumatic, Norwich, 2015). As retailer competition continues to stiffen, and profit margins decrease, retail loss practitioners have turned to situational crime prevention (SCP) techniques to proactively mitigate shoplifting.

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