Retail crime is increasing and 86% loss of stock through crime or wastage was attributed to crime in 2005, according to a report released by the Centre for Retail Research in the UK in the latter part of that year.
The survey covered a large number of European retail businesses, who returned results that suggested that external burglary and theft by staff were the biggest causes of loss. These figures are rising and yet, in 2005, an estimated €7633m was spent on installing and updating security measures.
It’s clear that deterring crime is a major challenge for retailers all over the world and, as with many such challenges, a combination of approaches is often the best solution.
Learning to identify suspicious behaviour is a key part of crime prevention. Retail managers and staff should be properly trained so that they know what to look for in terms of body language, verbal questions and recognised shoplifting tactics. The more skilled staff are in spotting these behaviours, the more likely they are to raise the alarm or step in before a crime is committed.
Placing of stock and monies
Most retailers want to put their best goods in the window or near to the entrance, to attract shoppers into the store. Unfortunately, unprotected, high-value goods can also attract criminals, so use alternative methods of display that deter thieves from trying to steal the merchandise. Examples of this could be lockable cases for jewellery and visible electronic tags for clothing. Similarly, you should have a secure method of dealing with cash payments, including times when money needs to be taken from the till.
A highly visible and advertised CCTV system can also act as a deterrent to retail criminals. Strategically-placed cameras that can be easily seen by staff and customers, together with noticeable warnings that monitoring is in place and the consequences of attempting to steal from your store can be very effective. You can always take advice from retail security specialists or community police officers who can advise you on the best way to run a CCTV system.