Theft is a grave threat to the bottom lines of retail businesses. Shoplifting is prevalent because it is relatively easy to commit and has minimal risk when compared to other crimes. Urban areas like Baltimore, MD frequently see experienced shoplifters who have mastered the art of thievery. Shoplifters come in the form of all races, ages, and economic status. In fact, in many cases, shoplifters have enough money on their person to purchase the items they are attempting to steal. Shoplifters look like everyday people. In the event of shoplifting, shoplifters are ordinary individuals who steal. According to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention, over $13 billion worth of goods is stolen from retailers each year. Shoplifting losses affect every retailer regardless of what they sell. These losses result in profits and increased prices. In Maryland, hiring a security company like this one is one of the best an options. However, it is not the only option available to business owners. Many retail stores use these type of retail theft deterrents. Here are ten additional steps that retailers can take to prevent shoplifting from their stores.
- Post warning signs: Make those that enter your store aware of the consequences of stealing from your store. Determine your shoplifting policy and communicate it to your customers with posted signs. Signs should warn that shoplifting will result in prosecution.
- Cash registers in front: Positioning cash registers at near the entrance and exits allows employees to see customers as they enter and exit. It also reminds would be shoplifters that they can be seen. At least one employee should be positioned at the cash registers constantly during business hours. Employees should be trained to watch customers as they enter and exit.
- Install mirrors: Even in cases where loss prevention is taken in consideration when designing the store layout, all stores have blind spots. Installing mirrors to eliminate blind spots is an important step to prevent shoplifting. Mirrors are a loss prevention tool that customers tend to ignore, but criminals always notice. If you hire a security company to provide security service it is important that the guard from the security company understands how to use mirrors for loss prevention.
- Adjust display heights : Displays can either help or hurt loss prevention efforts. Displays should be arranged in a manner where taller displays are positions around the walls of the store and shorter displays are closer to the front or middle of the store. This allows for all merchandise to be seen from the front of the store or an elevated customer service desk.
- Install security devices in plain view: Cameras, motion sensors and other security devices should be visible. Visible security systems demonstrate that the retailer has made an investment in protecting their stores. Would be shoplifters see evidence that the retailer takes shoplifting prevention seriously. This is applicable regardless of whether active or non-functioning or faux devices are used. Criminals must feel that they are being watched…..even if they are not. Live cameras should only be installed by a professional security company with trained installers. Doing it yourself could be problematic.
- Keep it secure: Attach monitoring devices and/or limit access to high theft items. High theft items can be secured in locked cases or stored in areas that require employees to access them. Doing, so reduces the amount of merchandise that is at risk of theft.
- Hire security guard: Hire an unarmed security guard like this from a security company. The security guard should be uniformed. Having the security guard in uniform serves as a more effective deterrent than a security guard dressed in plain clothes. Security guards are one of the best resources to prevent shoplifting. Security guards provide the dual benefits of knowing how to identify sign of shoplifting and also service as a visible crime deterrent that can react to changes that occur in real time. Their ability to react combines with their focus on theft makes them far superior to cameras or regular store employees whose primary focus is customer service. Be sure to watch your security guard to make sure they do not show these signs that they are not the right fit for your location.
- Stay alert: Employees should stay aware of what is happening inside the store. Extra attention should be paid during at the beginning and end of the day. Employees should know which items are high theft items and be encouraged to observe sensitive areas and merchandise.
- Identify suspicious behavior: Employees should watch for suspicious behavior. Employees should be mindful of behaviors that may signal criminal conduct. Behavior such as nervousness, starring, avoiding eye contact or shopping for extending periods of time without selecting items for purchase are all behaviors that could signal possible criminal activity. It is important for employees to be trained that these behaviors are suspicious and that suspicious activity does not always mean that the person being observed is a shoplifter.
- Check bags: Implement a policy that requires customers to check bags and backpacks as they enter the store. Employees or security guards should ask customers to check their bags in a pleasant manner. Checking in the bags reduces the possibility the bags could be being used to conceal stolen items.
If your store has been experiencing theft you may find it helpful to contact a security company to evaluate your current security measures and provide a recommendation. Many security companies provide this service free of charge. Even a security company that specializes in providing a security guard can make recommendations that involve options that do not include hiring a security guard. Getting an analysis is a great way to start the process of reducing losses from shoplifting. It is impossible to prevent shoplifting 100% of the time. However, taking the right steps can significantly reduce losses due to shoplifting. The key is making your store a hard target. Shoplifters prefer to target locations with less security measures in place. If your business is located in Washington DC, Maryland or Virginia you may want consider a security company like this one to assist you with accomplishing your loss prevention goals.