Shoplifting is a serious problem in the retail stores. It causes great loss to the retail stores by shrinking their business operations. Shoplifting is the single largest cause of shrinkage for retail business in the US. The stores are losing billions annually due to shoplifting. The repeat offenders are the more worrying for the stores as they cause the most damage to them. Shoplifting badly affects the profitability of retail stores. Store owners are doing their best to protect themselves from shoplifters. Contrary to popular belief, studies have shown that shoplifters do not have a predominant profile. They can be anyone between us so it is difficult to identify them by just looking at them.
You can take preventive measures like installing security and surveillance devices to stay protected. The store can make use of security mirrors and an open layout to enhance the visibility and eliminate any blind spots. Anti-theft tags and security guards can also be used to provide added protection from shoplifters. It is known that shoplifters target stores with poor surveillance systems and security measures. Hence, installing adequate safety measures will act as an effective deterrent for the shoplifters.
Anti-theft training’s are also becoming important these days. Such training’s help to protect the stores from shoplifters by providing suitable training to the staff in dealing with and managing such situations more effectively. Anti-theft training also ensures that the staff are safe while dealing with shoplifting incidents. There are many cases of shoplifting turning violent and armed robberies as well. These situations put the staff at great risk and it is the responsibility of the employer to protect their staff from such dangers by employing a combination or operational and procedural controls.
Loss to Business from Shoplifting
Shoplifting is one of the biggest losses to any retail store. US Businesses are losing more than $60 billion annually due to shoplifting. According to the study conducted by National Retail Federation in 2017, there are 3 major reasons for retail loss, known as shrinkage. Shoplifting is the largest reason of shrinkage at 37%. The average dollar cost per shoplifting incident was reported to be $798.48 in 2017. It is evident that controlling shoplifting will go a long way in reducing the retail shrinkage and contribute towards improving the profitability of operations. The retail stores need to take a more proactive approach in reducing shoplifting incidents.
Identifying Potential Shoplifters
Identifying shoplifters can be difficult. According to the National Association of Shoplifting Prevention, there is no single and predominant shoplifter profile. Both men and women steal equally as often and more than 75% of all shoplifters are adults. Another study conducted by the University of Florida has revealed that there is no stereotypes that can be used for identifying shoplifters. Hence, you cannot rely on any preconceived notions and stereotypes for identifying shoplifters in your store. You need to be more alert and proactive in spotting them. Shoplifters are common people in everyday life who mostly earn respectable wages.
It is the repeat and habitual offenders who cost the business the most. Such shoplifters are adept at their work and target stores that lack proper surveillance system and adequate security. In a study involving more than 20,000 adults including juvenile and non-juvenile shoplifters, it was revealed that 27% of the shoplifters were habitual offenders. These habitual offenders are responsible for about 90% of the non-professional losses and 85% of shoplifting losses. You need to have adequate surveillance and security at your retail store to deter and prevent shoplifters from stealing. You should also have a clear policy of how you want to deal with shoplifters. Stricter punishments will prevent them from shoplifting.
Keeping Your Premises Secure from Shoplifters
You can reduce on the shoplifting incidents by taking adequate and appropriate preventive measures in your retail store. Some of the key measures for preventing shoplifting are discussed below:
Organize Your Store with Signs and Mirrors
Majority of the shoplifting incidents are not preplanned and based on acts of impulse. According to a survey conducted by the National Association of Shoplifting Prevention (NASP), 73% of the total shoplifting cases are not premeditated. You can organize your retail store properly to cut down on shoplifting. You can have an open floor layout and ensure proper lighting so that most of the store is visible. Keep your exit near the front of the store rather than at the back. You should put security mirrors in the store. These mirrors help you to see the store clearly and eliminate any blind spots. You should also put messages on what the store intends to do to shoplifters who get caught. These signs act as deterrents to shoplifters but are also needed for legal reasons. If you intend to prosecute a shoplifter, then you should have it posted in the store first.
Recruit Good Staff and Train Them
Recruitment of proper employees and training them goes a long way on reducing the incidences of shoplifting. Do proper background checks of applicants before recruiting them. You can also review their social media profiles to get a better understanding of the applicants. This will help you to employ only the best people at your retail store. You should provide adequate anti-theft training to your staff and make them understand the importance of prevention of shoplifting and loss to the business. you should motivate your staff to be alert and reduce the cases of shoplifting. Motivated and well-trained staff can contribute significantly towards reducing shoplifting in the retail store.
Install Surveillance Equipment
Installing proper surveillance equipment is the most important deterrent for shoplifters. You can install high-quality and resolution CCTV cameras that will cover the total interior and exterior of your retail store. The store can display the message that the store is under CCTV surveillance that will act as a great deterrent for shoplifters as they run the risk of getting caught immediately. The cameras should not be discreet rather they should be placed for everyone to see them. The display also should be located strategically where everyone can see themselves. You can also opt for video analytics software which is a high-end surveillance system that digitally monitors the customers and employees in real time and alerts you of any indifferent behavior. It also allows you to view any transaction and video footage associated with any item on the receipt.
Use Anti-Theft Tags
There are three common types of anti-theft tags that you can use in your store- Acousto-Magnetic tags, RFID tags, and Spider Wrap. The acousto-magnetic tags are narrow white tags that are deactivated by passing them under demagnetizer. Retail RFID tags are stickers on pin-tag radio-frequency identification devices attached to the products in the store. If any customer walks out of the store, with the RFID tag still attached to the product, it will set off an alarm near the exit door. This will notify the store security about a potential case of shoplifting. The cost of RFID tags varies based on their level of sophistication and range. Spider wraps are wrapped around the products and these tags have an alarm built into them. Cutting these spider wrap tags will set off an alarm. These anti-theft tags can reduce the instances of shoplifting in any retail store.
Hire Security Guards
Hiring security guards is a good strategy to deter shoplifters. These security guards can be armed or unarmed depending on the requirement of the store. They are trained to monitor any instances of shoplifting. Though uninformed guards are great deterrents for shoplifters, they can also make the regular customers uncomfortable. Another effective alternative is to hire security guards in plain clothing. This will not make the regular customers uncomfortable and the guards can lookout for any shoplifters in plain clothing which even the shoplifters will not know of. Hiring security guards from a professional and reputed agency is a worthwhile investment for protecting your retail store from unscrupulous shoplifters.
Have Clear and Strict Policies on Shoplifters
Letting go of the shoplifters on being caught is not a good strategy. On being let go, the shoplifters will become more confident of stealing again. You should have a clear and strict policy on dealing with shoplifters. When the shoplifters know that they will be dealt with sternly on getting caught, they will be less likely to indulge in such activities. You can formulate a policy that the shoplifters will be reported to the local police department for taking further action. This will act as a strong deterrent to the shoplifters for shoplifting in your store.
Anti-Theft Trainings- Overview and Benefits
Anti-theft trainings are becoming popular. Such trainings equip the staff to manage any instances of shoplifting in a more effective and better manner. The training intends to equip the staff on identifying the potential shoplifters and how they can engage more meaningfully with their customers to prevent the cases of shoplifting. The anti-theft training helps to reduce the losses and shrinkages caused to the business by shoplifting. This contributes positively towards improving the bottom line for the business. With increasing incidents of shoplifting and the number of repeat offenders growing, Anti-theft training should become mandatory for the staff. The key benefits offered by anti-theft training are provided below:
One of the direct contributions of anti-theft training to business is reduced shrinkage due to shoplifting. Shoplifting is a major nuisance in retail business and is the single largest shrinkage causing factor in the US. With proper anti-theft training, the retail store can become better and more adept at curbing the cases of shoplifting. It can make use of effective and modern surveillance systems that can deter the shoplifters. Anti-theft training also provides other effective means of reducing and curbing shoplifting in retail stores. Use of security mirrors, messages on action to be taken on shoplifters, use of anti-theft tags etc. are some of the measures suggested by anti-theft training to cut down on shoplifting.
Better Trained Staff
The staff at retail stores become better trained and more effective in reducing instances of shoplifting. The staff understand the problem and magnitude of shoplifting and the damage they cause to the business operations. Once they are trained, they become more effective in stopping shoplifting. They become better at identifying potential shoplifters and this gives them a head start in preventing shoplifting at their stores. The staff are provided inputs on how to manage the situation in case of shoplifting incidents. They are trained on checking the various security and surveillance measures installed in the retail stores to ensure that shoplifters are kept in check.
Better Internal Procedures for Preventing Theft
Every store should have a set of established standard operating procedures that need to be followed when a shoplifting incident happens. The anti-theft training helps to imbibe the appropriate procedures that need to be followed by the staff in such situations. If a customer is walking out and the alarm is set off then it does not mean that it is clear case of shoplifting. It can only be a case of the tag being not removed from the product by act of negligence. The customer should be spoken to in a calm and friendly manner and the product should be checked for any tags. The entire situation should be managed calmly and professionally for the benefit of all involved parties. Anti-theft trainings help to orient the store staff on how they need to act in such situations. This helps in reducing the cases of shoplifting considerably.
Safety of Staff
Shoplifters need to be confronted tactfully. Once the store staff has established that shoplifting has taken place then they need to act is a standard protocol as per their internal policies. Anti-theft training helps them to tackle such situations and prepares them to manage the shoplifters effectively. Any confrontation or act of aggression from the store staff can provoke the shoplifter and this can cause harm to the store staff. Undergoing anti-theft training helps them to manage the situation better and be safe.
Reducing the Risk for Staff During Potential Violence
It is the duty and responsibility of the employer to protect their staff from any act of shoplifting that involves violence. The following measures can be undertaken to ensure that the staff are protected from any serious dangers and risks during such situations:
Do a Thorough Risk Assessment
You should do a thorough risk assessment for any potentially violent and harmful situations that may arise in the future for the staff. Situations like shoplifting, robbery, and assault, abusive and difficult customers etc. need to be accounted for. These situations can be dangerous for the staff and can put them in grave risk. A comprehensive assessment of such risks helps the employers to understand the different situations and risks that may confront their employees in the future. They can develop better risk mitigation strategies and responses to protect their staff from such dangers.
Appropriate Steps for Risk Mitigation
Once the risks have been identified, you need to develop appropriate risk mitigation strategies to address the same. You can undertake a combination of physical and procedural controls to mitigate such risks. The store should be carefully designed with an open layout for better view of the entire store by the staff. Appropriate and better surveillance equipment can be installed throughout the store to keep an eye on any unscrupulous people. Suitable messages should be displayed throughout the store on what the store intends to do with anyone caught shoplifting or entering into any violent acts. The staff should also be trained properly on dealing with such situations. There should be clear and well-documented procedures on how they need to deal with such risks and situations.
Involve Staff for Inputs
Your employees know a lot about the business so it is important to involve them and take their inputs on potential risks for violence. Inputs from staff can provide detailed insights into aspects like when and where the staff can be at risk, how they plan to deal with such situations, details of individuals who have resorted to similar behavior in the past etc. The employees should be motivated to participate and give their views on potential violence during shoplifting. A participative approach along with the inputs of staff will help to come out with more effective strategies to deal with such situations.
Have Clear Standard Procedures
The employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy working environment to their staff. All the staff should be provided adequate training on their job roles and the work environment they will be working in. There should be clearly documented procedures of what needs to be done in case of any violent shoplifting or robbery incident. The staff should know about the standard protocols of managing the cash counter. They should be aware of the steps they should take for managing money in the store and for making bank deposits. Working alone also entails risks and the staff should know the procedures they need to follow during such cases. Once the staff are aware of the standard operating procedures in such situations, they are able to deal with the situation much better. The likelihood of them getting in danger reduces considerably and they will remain safe and protected during any such unfortunate happening.
A burglary is among the most serious and potentially harmful criminal offenses devoted in the United States today. A burglar devotes a setback due to the fact that he or she believes that their revenue will deserve the risk. Data reveal that criminal activity is increasing at an alarming rate particularly heist. Each year, thousands of people are victims of this crime and many are attacked violently. Utilizing these pointers, you can assist decrease the possibility of retailer equipped break-in and secure the security of employees and consumers.
1.) EXAMINE PEDESTRIAN ACTIVITY
In general, high activity locations are less vulnerable to burglaries. Examine the amount and kind of traffic, times of low and high activity and the potential for increasing traffic and activity.
It would be to the shops advantage to have a pay telephone close by for pedestrian use ought to somebody notification problem within the store. The phone must likewise be positioned so a potential robber would not be able to keep track of the activities of the employee on task while using the phone.
2.) LOOK FOR SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY
Keep alert and understand what is happening within and outside of your business. Watch for loiterers and politely ask them to leave. Do not hesitate to call (911) when you see suspicious activity. Be conscious of parking area across the street or off to one side of the parking lot.
3.) MAKE CERTAIN THERE IS GOOD EXPOSURE AND LIGHTING
It is necessary to provide as much visibility as possible into your shop from the street and to supply presence from the within the store to the outside. The essential point is that there must be visibility from the register location to the street. This includes an assessment of your lighting and the visibility it supplies both during the day and in the evening.
Remove any dark areas and use image sensing units to guarantee lights come on during the night. Replace stressed out bulbs immediately.
Pedestrians, in addition to travelling patrol automobiles, need to have clear exposure into the shop both throughout the day and particularly during the night. For circumstances, shrubs or trees often obstruct the path of a floodlight. Often trees cast shadows over your lot at different times of the year. Try to find such obstacles in your lot.
4.) STRUCTURE AND CAR PARK SECURITY
Some store operators use some security steps which could slow a robbers leave.
Such procedures might hinder a break-in also.
For example, some shops fence their properties on 3 sides to slow a burglar escaping around the side of the shop. Some stores allow parking only directly in front of their shops, so an escape vehicle would need to be parked directly in front of the store. Some shops have just one exit out of the parking lot, and some have speed bumps in the parking lot.
5.) KEEP LOW AMOUNTS OF MONEY IN THE REGISTER
Large amounts of cash and its availability are appealing to robbers. The robber will know big quantities of cash are offered if he sees large costs in the register or sees the clerk putting big bills into the register. That is why a low cash policy is very important. Exposure into the sales register is alright if cash levels are kept low. Low levels of cash may be an excellent deterrence, versus the burglar guessing wrong that the take will be considerable.
Establish and impose policies that restrict the maximum quantity of cash in the sales register to a specific dollar amount. No more cash must be available than is definitely required to fulfill consumer transactions. Make certain large costs are dropped and not noticeable at the register. To enforce this policy, each store requires a deposit safe so that employees can put away cash as it collects. Setting up a safe in your shop likewise decreases the probability of a setback considering that word will get out that there is little cash to be obtained at your shops. Any safe you purchase need to be bolted to the flooring.
Serious consideration ought to be given by management to the purchase and installation of a money giving safe which will facilitate regular drops of cash removed from the money register, and healing of modification as required.
6.) USE BREAK-IN DETERRENCE SIGNS
Robbery deterrence signs, stickers, decals, and so on are available to let customers and prospective robbers know what a store is doing to hinder robbery. For example, positioning a height step by an exit door helps witnesses determine the height of a fleeing burglar.
Remember, whatever signage you have in place, make sure it is telling a real story. Do not post signage which is not real.
7.) INSTALL SECURITY DEVICES
All security procedures and treatments must be up front and not a secret. That indicates no
dummy cams, phony alarm systems, or incorrect signs suggesting security procedures that are not actually in practice or place. If wrongdoers believe you are lying about one element of your shop security, they will believe you are lying about others, such as not having access to particular money levels. This could cause violence.
Likewise, other deterrence steps need to be in location prior to a company invests in sophisticated security equipment. There is not definitive proof that video monitoring equipment has actually worked as an efficient deterrence to heist.
Install suitable systems consistent with the burglary danger of the area. Contact your local police for records on the robbery risk of your location.
8.) TRAIN YOUR EMPLOYEES & MANAGEMENT
No matter how safe the within and exterior of the shop can be, managers and employees need to put burglary deterrence rules into result. Here the focus is on the significance of training.
Training is necessary so an employee can react calmly and quickly in case of a burglary.
Training you workers and regularly revitalizing them on burglary deterrence treatments can curb robbery. It likewise shows your issue for employees and customers. Training and follow-up will be the secret to your program’s success. Train your employees regularly. Develop a training schedule. An audio-visual element assists to enhance the burglary deterrence treatments.
9.) BANK DEPOSIT & CASH COUNTING
Establish and implement robbery deterrence treatments for counting the money in the register and for carrying cash receipts to the bank. Be discreet when counting big amounts of cash or preparing a bank deposit. It is best to do that when there are no customers, or let another person manage the register so the employee can prepare the deposits in the back room.
Make regular bank deposits and differ the time of the day when you make deposits. Conceal the cash when going to the bank and differ the approach of concealment. For circumstances put the money in a paper lunch bag, a plastic sandwich container, a knapsack, an empty rock salt bag, and so on
. Do not be obvious about going to the bank. Do not use your uniform, apron, or name tag to the bank. Do not deposit during the night if possible. If you need to deposit during the night, consider having an employee drive your vehicle to the front of the shop. If you have a lot of loan to deposit, consider calling an armored cars and truck service. (Some cops officers will escort an employee to the bank. Keep in mind, police does not desire a burglar on their hands either.).
10.) POLICE SECURITY.
Deal with your regional authorities department to obtain organized and unexpected visits. Try to have cops available in on a timely basis for a free single serving non-alcoholic beverage (juice, coffee, soda) to get the cops officers into your store. If you have public washrooms, encourage the cops to come in to utilize them. If you do not have public restrooms, you may let the authorities officer utilize the employee washrooms. Using such features frequently leads to a more frequent noticeable part of the officers to react to the shops more rapidly, in an emergency.
Employees should be motivated to progress acquainted with the officers, who patrol the area, and to establish friendly relationships and cooperate with the officers. Ask cops to drive through your parking lots when they remain in the location to search in at your cashiers. Think about playing an authorities radio broadcast in the store during the night to suggest a direct link to cops. Think about a sign such as: Shop Topic to Routine Authorities Patrols (but just if the sign holds true.) Some store owners deal with the area merchants to reduce break-in by pooling resources from area sellers to money a benefit for the arrest and conviction of an armed robber. Some sellers work with a uniformed guard to patrol the premises and other area retailers premises, especially if they are open 24 hr. However beware! Guards might sometimes incite an obstacle and provoke violence instead of discourage it.
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