Self-checkout lanes are becoming increasingly popular in stores. They're convenient for shoppers, but they're also convenient for thieves to steal.

New technology is beginning to change that.

"Loss prevention is always about balancing the needs of customer demand, while protecting a company's assets," said Joe LaRocca, Senior Advisor Asset Protection with the National Retail Federation. "The systems continue to improve, so they're more accurate and they're more efficient."

"New self-checkout lanes with tunnel scanners will automate the entire process," said LaRocca. "So, you'll empty your cart on one side of the checkout stand and bag the item on the other. Everything will pass through the scanner. There should be nothing in your cart other than some basic personal belongings."

There's also been a lot of improvement with digital video systems. "The systems are able to recognize merchandise when it passes through the lane even if it's in the bottom of a shopping cart," said LaRocca. "We know that employees are a store's best way of spotting a shoplifter. But, these new self-checkout systems are more intuitive and will be able to tell if items aren't placed on the belt."

Research shows self-checkouts in the United States will increase by up to ten percent in the next few years with the largest growth expected at convenience, hardware and drug stores.