There’s an old saying that goes “Locks are only there to keep out the honest people” and in retail this is particularly true. There have been numerous studies into the behaviour of those that commit crimes such as theft or vandalism and they provide a valuable insight into the way that retail business owners can prevent crimes of this nature. The facts are that in this day and age any losses to a bricks and mortar retail business are extremely significant. So much so that they can be the deciding factor in whether a business survives or goes under.
3 steps to creating theft
Experts suggest that there are 3 main factors which create the environment for retail theft to happen. These are ability, desire and opportunity. Unfortunately as a retail owner you can only control one aspect of this. We can’t change someone’s ability or desire to steal, but what we can change is the opportunity factor. So what about those opportunities?
The fact of the matter is that if you examine it closely, opportunities are everywhere. A poorly lit area, an unlocked door or open window, location blind spots and insufficient staff to monitor areas can all present themselves to opportunists.
So how do we make them less desirable for any ‘would-be’ thief?
The first thing you need to do is to think like a criminal. Ask yourself “How would you steal from your store if you had the chance?” Start from the entrance and do a complete walk round. What about blind spots. Can you reduce them? Are there banners or display units that prevent you from keeping a careful eye on your retail space? Are your higher ticketed items within easy reach? Is there a way you can light up any dark corners or recessed areas? All these things should be addressed.
What about CCTV?
Cameras may seem like the perfect deterrent, but many a retailer will tell you that they won’t stop crime and in this respect they have a limited effect. That said, what they do best is to document crimes. In essence, cameras shouldn’t be used as the first line of defence against crime but should certainly be used in conjunction with other methods as part of an overall security strategy.
How about a real security presence?
Human presence is probably the best deterrent against theft and can range from uniformed guards who act as a physical deterrent to plain-clothed incognito people who patrol your store seeking to spot the unusual behaviour of potential shop-lifters.
Signage informing shoppers that they may be watched by surveillance cameras often has a mixed effect. For some it might deter them from trying to steal from you whereas others might see it as a challenge and look for any weak spots. That said, it becomes most effective when it’s used in conjunction with other methods.
In essence in order to prevent retail theft you need to adopt a ‘layered’ approach to your retail security incorporating all the measures discussed here. There are many ways that you can go about doing this, most of which are far outside the scope of this article. So for more information on how you can protect your retail business and save yourself money in the long-term then contact MA Services Group Pty Ltd on 03 9994 4107. Our experienced team are standing by to take your call.