Small Business – Shoplifting Awareness
What is shoplifting ? – Shoplifting also referred to as boosting or five finger discounts is theft from retail stores with the intent to deprive the owner of those items taken.
The backbone of our economies is small business, individuals, friends or families trying to earn a living. Shoplifters either do not know or do not care of the hard work and dedication these people put into their business, many often work with small margins and a two dollar theft could require a twenty dollar sale to recover that loss. This is what makes the costs of goods go up as well, as business owners lose right off their bottom line with every theft.
Who are these shoplifters? – Anyone could be a shoplifter, common to find youths just testing their luck or competing who can do it and who can steal the most. Addicts can be desperate to support a bad habit. The economy can place people in difficult scenarios making it seem like the only way. But there are also people with a psychological compulsion to steal they are known as Kleptomaniacs.
How do they do it ? – Youths or Gangs sometimes work in groups, as they enter the store they split up making it difficult to monitor them all, they take advantage.
More professional shoplifters use simple techniques, wearing baggy clothes or over sized jackets are good hiding places, placing a large open bag on the floor by their feet makes it easy to drop items into the bag unnoticed. Baby carriages or strollers allow for items to be easily hidden inside pockets, blankets or clothing. Umbrellas may be used on rainy days, hanging over an arm or upside down makes a great pocket to drop item into.
Clothing, shoes, hats sunglasses are some items that are just put on and go unnoticed walking out the store.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
- Awareness – Being aware that shoplifting may occur anytime, Educate yourself and staff on what to watch out for. Make sure you have your employees are trained as well, implement some cost effective measures and policies. Start with greeting customers as they come into the store, this is good for business as well as letting potential thieves know you have acknowledged their presence. Be aware of distractions that may provide opportunities for accomplices.
- Plan Store Layout – Start with placing the cash near the front doors, making it easier to greet the customers, maintain adequate lighting inside and outside of the store, Keep aisles wide and clear of obstructions like displays, Placing mirrors to expose hidden from view areas, lower shelving will help keep an better view across the store.
- Merchandising – The key to selling is having items out to display, consider using empty boxes to display high ticketed items, keep small valuable items in locked display cases, keep expensive items away from doors and windows, bigger bulky items keep near the rear of the store.
- Surveillance – The use of video Surveillance should be with good quality equipment High Definition cameras will have a better chance to identify the perpetrator or actions of the theft. Have enough cameras so that every area is being monitored, the front doors as well as the back doors, every aisle, stock room and cash area need to be monitored. Inspect the equipment, making sure recording is working, check that cameras are not obstructed by promotional banners or merchandise. Secure the recording device in inconspicuous location.
- REVIEW SECURITY –Develop a security policy and review it at least twice a year, Discuss your policy with your staff remembering to inform new hires upon starting employment. Work with your employees on regular bases to keep them aware of procedures and policy. Review your security with local police, ask for further suggestions. Be a good neighbor, knowing your neighbor and the people working around you is a great way to stay informed on mischievous activities.
Security measures, policies and procedures are important to protecting your bottom line.
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