Security Tags and Pins

Size matters – some pointers on security tags and pins

When talk turns to security tags and electronic article surveillance, the focus is often on their technology.

But what’s frequently overlooked is a very simple component of each security tag – the pin. The pin is the element that secures an electronic security tag to an item, and it’s a major consideration when determining how effective that tag will be in the bid to combat shoplifting.

Here’s an insight into why shape, style and size matters when it comes to security tag pins.

Security Tag elements

Every security tag comprises a series of essential elements:

The tag – The tag is the hard, plastic component which houses an EAS transmitter. Operating on either an RF or AM frequency these transmitters communicate with an antenna, usually positioned near the entry to the store. When the tag comes too close to that antenna, an alarm will sound.

The locking mechanism – The tag also incorporates the locking mechanism which secures a pin. Locking mechanisms can be mechanical or magnetic, but their job is to lock the pin in place so a tag cannot be physically pulled apart by a shoplifter and removed.

The pin – The pin comprises a pin head and a metal shaft that passes through a garment or item and locks into the tag. Pin heads are available in different sizes. And it’s important to note, the size and style of this pin head can have a large bearing on how effective your tag will be.

Meanwhile, recent developments have also seen all-in-one tags like the alligator tag become available which incorporate the tag, locking mechanism and pin into one item.

Size and shape matters

Pins come in a variety of sizes and styles. Some have small metal pinheads, others have dome shaped, larger plastic pin heads, and others still include benefit denial features.

It’s important to consider these sizes and styles as you select security tags for your store. And here’s why…

Size – Although it’s a messy method, shoplifters have been known to remove tags by forcing the pin head through the fabric of the garment or by making a small cut. Therefore, larger pinheads can be of benefit.

Larger pinheads act as a deterrent as they require the thief to cause more significant damage to an item in order to force a pin head through. This damage renders the garment less valuable or entirely useless.

This is also something to bear in mind when it comes to positioning clothing tags on garments. The tags should be positioned in an area that will cause visible and irreparable damage if someone tries to force a pinhead through that area of the product.

Style – Pinheads are also available with additional security features like ink. Ink dye pinheads act as both a benefit denial strategy and a deterrent. Should a thief try to tamper with a tag featuring an ink dye pinhead, the ink releases into the garment, rendering it damaged and useless. That makes ink dye tags less likely to attract removal attempts.

Shape – When we talk about shape, we are referring to the shape of the hard tag in relation to the pin head.

And there are a few common shapes available in clothing tags:

  • Pencil or square tags that require a standard pin.
  • Clam shell tags that are circular in shape. Usually the tag body and pin head are the same size.
  • Alligator tags where the tag, locking mechanism and pin are part of an all in one design, which effectively clips onto a garment.

Statistics indicate that pencil or square tags are more readily circumvented by shoplifters who have more leverage to attack the pin and or bypass the locking mechanisms by forcing it open. Meanwhile clam shell tags have less leverage points due to their circular uniform tag and pin design.

So much more to consider

The pin and pinhead are just one of many features to consider when it comes to selecting the right clothing or product security tags for your store. You can learn more about the different tags available here, or contact our friendly staff for further advice.