A significant amount of security guards abilities is based on their skills of observation. While a security guards very presence in a particular building or business is a deterrent against criminals or other people with malicious intentions, proximity alone is not enough to get the job done. If you’re working as a retail security guard, for example, one of the significant factors that you need to watch out for is the clever shoplifter. Some professional shoplifters make their living traveling around the beltway through the Washington DC Metropolitan Area. A business in Silver Spring, MD recently experienced a group of shoplifters who repeatedly stole from their store. These theives constitute a significant part of the reason why many retail businesses in Maryland hire security companies. By paying attention to a few key warning signs, a security guard can identify security threats and handle the situation as needed in a much more effective way before they balloon into full-fledged theft.
1. Look at How They’re Dressed
One of the most critical ways to spot a shoplifter involves paying attention to how they’ are dressed. One of the most common shoplifting methods involves concealment, meaning that they’re trying to take an item and hide it on their person. This will often lead to shoplifters wearing baggie clothing or heavy coats out of season to aid them in this goal. If you happen to see a person who is already acting suspiciously who is also wearing a heavy winter coat in the middle of a hot July day, you might be looking at a shoplifter.
2. What Are They Focused On?
Remember that the one thing that you can guarantee about a shoplifter is that they haven’t come into a retail store to shop like other customers. Whereas a typical customer may be engaging with store officials or other customers, shoplifters keep to themselves to try not to attract attention. They also focus more attention on what employees and security personnel are doing than the items for sale. If you find someone who is more focused on what is going on around them (particularly when it comes to employees) than they are on the products that they’ve supposedly happened to “buy,” you’re looking at someone who you should start watching.
3. Body Language
By far, body language is one of the single best tools that a security guard has to successfully spot a shoplifter. If a person appears nervous, mainly when interacting with store employees, you’re looking at someone who may be moments away from stealing the item that they’ve been carrying around the store.
4. Item Transportation
When you think about how a regular person shops, it doesn’t normally involve carrying a single item around the store to various locations for huge periods. A standard customer may move an item from one section to another, but it’s normally with a shopping cart and is a small part of a much larger purchase – particularly around the holidays. If you see one person grab an item from a shelf and carry it around with seemingly no intention of putting it down again, they may be looking for an ideal place to remove that item from its packaging and take it out of the store.
5. Be Wary of Distraction
One common technique that shoplifters use is a distraction. Distraction techniques typically happen when shoplifters work in teams. Two or more people will enter the store, and one will try to do everything they can to distract the security guard while the other will shoplift without issue. If a customer goes out of their way to ask you a question instead of a customer service employee, then a shoplifter may be elsewhere in the store, and you should assess the situation to see what is going on.
These are just a few of the many ways that you can spot a shoplifter while on the job. Remember that from the perspective of the shoplifter, so much of what they’re trying to do depends on staying one step ahead of security personnel: this means you. By always staying observant and by keeping your eyes open for these warning signs, you’ll put yourself in a much better position to stop them in their tracks wherever possible. You will also have the appreciation of the security company you work for and the clients you are serving. If you are looking for security services, please consider our company.