How Retailers Can Reduce Theft in the Build-Up to Christmas

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An increase in footfall in the build up to Christmas can also mean a rise in retail crime, which can result in considerable losses for many retail businesses.  In fact, there is a 20% increase in shoplifting over the Christmas (source: Centre for Retail Research).

The team at RGM Security in Swansea has come up with advice and guidance for shop owners to helps secure their goods during the busiest shopping spree of the year.

Retail Security Priorities

There is no doubt that Christmas is the busiest time of year for retailers all across the UK.  However, the ringing of tills can represent a double-edged sword for many shop and business owners. This is because, although increases in customers coming through the doors represents a corresponding increase in sales, the result is overcrowded shop floors, which in turn provides the perfect cover for shop lifters.

The most common items that are favourites of these seasonal thieves include clothing, jewellery and accessories, smaller toys, electronic goods like tablets and smart phones.  In fact, the security industry reports that semi-professional thieves, who know what they are doing, tend to be responsible for the majority of higher value items rather than petty shoplifters.

Security should be every shop owner’s number one priority at this time of the year, not just to ensure as little stock as possible is stolen but also to protect their staff and customers. Implementing the most appropriate security measures and ensuring temporary, seasonal staff are fully referenced and checked are vital in this scenario.

Security Guards & Store Detectives

A good starting point is to employ security guards otherwise known as loss prevention officers, who have experience in working in a retail environment. You should look for a company who can provide fully trained guards who are licensed to Security Industry Authority standards.  These guards will act as a deterrent to potential thieves as well as being able to monitor and prevent theft from employees.  They should also be trained to door supervisor standards which enables them to manage conflict should any situations occur.

Retail premises vary greatly in terms of size, types of goods on offer and layout of the premises; an effective security guard will need to have a clear understanding of the layout of the retail premises and knowledge of the local vicinity in which they are employed if they are to perform their duties properly.

For larger stores, you may also wish to employ undercover guards or store detectives who blend into the crowds and are not easily recognised by shop-lifters.   However, these guards need a very different set of skills and experience to carry out their role effectively.

The work requires patrolling the store, watching for shoplifters and discretely following shoppers that are acting suspicious without giving up their cover. Thy will also have perfected the art of keeping their distance along with the ability to watch without watching and changing positions as not to be noticed.

CCTV Monitoring

An additional security measure is CCTV Monitoring when the shop is both open and closed.  Installing a CCTV System in your retail premises and then ensuring 24/7 monitoring is one of the most effective security measures you can take.   Not only will the guard monitoring your CCTV cameras be able to easily identify any suspicious activity whilst the shop is open, including shop lifters or unauthorised personnel entering a store room for example; but will also ensure that your premises is safe at all other times.   This approach will ensure that incidents, such as fire, theft or an intrusion, do not go unnoticed.

If you also have an intruder alarm system with direct notification to a dedicated key-holder, you will have the peace of mind that your retail premises are safe day and night.

A further measure you can take is to carry out training by professionals for your in-store staff in loss prevention techniques, including tag fitting and checking.

Checks and Maintenance

And on a final note, don’t forget to check all the locks on windows and doors, ensuring all are in fully working order and that all alarms and other intruder systems are tested and maintained.

If you’re still concerned about potential theft or other business losses in the build up to Christmas, call the team at RGM Security in Swansea to book a free security survey.

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