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The Changing Face Of Retail Crime, Is CCTV Really Enough?

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Who would have guessed 2020 would be about remote working and lockdowns. First, it was the supermarkets who changed their practices for the pandemic and then other retailers were allowed to trade also with strict measures in place—the social distancing, wearing of PPE and constant cleaning of surfaces. Life really hasn’t been as we know it. Queuing systems to monitor the number of people entering and exiting a shop at any time was a first for most shoppers.

On a positive note, shopkeepers have seen the number of instore crimes fall due to the pandemic measures.

The Reality Of Retail Crime

However, the statistics are not all that encouraging for retailers.

Some areas have experienced a drop off in recorded crimes by as much as 20%, shoplifting still has a 52% chance of success which for a thief is quite good odds when you think you’ve got a 50/50 chance of your shoplifting going unpunished.

What’s worrying store owners is more incidents of crime will return as the retail industry gets back to business as usual, with their physical stores open. There is also a higher risk of product loss for the retailers that have had to let go of some of their staff due to a lack of trading over lockdown.

Times are also expected to get tougher with unemployment rising so most store owners can expect the current unpunished crime rate of 52% to rise. There will be more people shoplifting out of necessity. Not what you want to hear as a shop owner but as the saying goes: information is power, and with it, you can put in place measures to protect your store.

A survey completed by Retail Research identified that retail crime losses in 2019 came in at around £4,821mn and this was mainly focused on theft alone, including external theft and theft from staff. Retail stores owners know they need to keep on top of their security. People are still going to try their luck to get something for free. If your retail store is also empty regularly due to closures, having some form of visible security can be enough of a deterrent.

How Can Retail Protect Their Premises?

Secure your retail store with CCTV, as it will put off some people from stealing; however, it might not be enough anymore. Repeat offenders know how to hide their actions from the cameras, and even if they catch it, they’re only recording the activity, not preventing it from happening. The presence of burly security guards or trained staff in uniform still is the best way to keep customers honest and orderly.

Violent crime can happen anywhere, and desperate thieves may resort to carrying and using a knife or another weapon. You don’t want your sales staff confronting someone with a weapon. Security people, however, are trained for confrontational situations, so they are your best option to ward off any trouble in your store.

Here are a few more tips to reduce shoplifting. Did you know most shoplifters are middle-aged? It’s hard not to stereotype, but avoid doing so as your shoplifters are everyday people who may be gainfully employed and dressed in a suit or office attire. Study your CCTV recordings to locate shifty behaviour or unusual loitering.

In time, you’ll know how to spot a shoplifter. Guards on the doors, might not be right for you so electronic security systems do have their own advantages, and will go some way in preventing your store being emptied of your prized stock! And if you have an eCommerce store you’ll need to have internet security to stop cybercrime.

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