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How to Prevent Shoplifting

Shoplifting costs retail businesses money and, unfortunately, it’s a pretty common crime. According to statistics from the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention, there are approximately 27 million shoplifters in the United States. This is about 1 in 11 people. More than 10 million people in the US have been caught shoplifting in the last five years.

Shoplifting costs businesses, police departments, courts, and other customers. It adds to a store’s security expenses and the lost revenue opportunities are passed on to customers through higher prices. Shoplifting can even cost a retail store so severely that the store goes out of business.

Therefore, it’s important to take steps to reduce shoplifting losses and prevent shoplifting whenever possible. Here are five ways to do just that.

Speak to Customers

People are much more likely to shoplift if they feel like no one is watching them. That’s why it’s a good idea to greet all customers when they enter the store. Not only does this make people feel welcome, but it also let’s potential shoplifters know that you’re watching them.

If a customer has been in the store for a while, or is acting suspicious, go over and ask if you can help them. Again, not only is this good customer service, but it also alerts shoplifters that you are aware that they are in your store.

Use Physical Security

Shoplifters typically target small yet valuable items such as electronics, medication, make-up, razor blades, baby formula, jewelry, etc. They target these items because they can easily be slipped into a bag or coat without being noticed. To deter these crimes, lock these items inside secure cabinets or behind security gates. Customers who want to access these items will need to ask staff for assistance, which will dramatically reduce shoplifting.

Keep Your Store Organized

Many shoplifting crimes are crimes of opportunity. If your store looks disorganized or messy, shoplifters will assume that you are not diligent and aware and they will be more likely to steal from you. That’s why it’s important to keep store shelves neat, tidy, and organized.

Plus, if your store is clean and organized, you’ll be much more likely to notice if something is missing from a shelf, making it easier to spot a shoplifter before they can get away.

Make Sure You Can See

As mentioned, shoplifters steal when they think they won’t be seen. To solve this problem, arrange the layout of your store so that you can always see what customers are doing. Use open areas and smaller shelves that you can see over. Make sure store staff can easily see every person in the store. Rearrange your layout so that criminals don’t have places to hide and commit crimes.

Put Up Signs

Make sure to put up signs that tell customers that you have a shoplifting policy, that you have security measures in place, and that you will prosecute shoplifters. It might not seem like these measures will make a difference, but they will. When criminals see these signs, they know that your store is serious about preventing shoplifting and will be less likely to attempt a crime in your store.

We have some more helpful tips to improving the security of your business. Download our helpful guide to Improving Your Security Mindset.

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