Retail is a tough business. The costs of running a physical store compared to the costs of an online presence mean that store owners can’t afford to be plagued by crime, whether that’s shoplifters taking a few high ticket items or an overnight professional raid on your store room. Competing against the lower prices of online retailers mean that physical stores need to be very careful to retain their margin, so reducing theft as much as possible is key.
Some stores located in town centres or malls have a built in level of security already with CCTV coverage provided either by the mall or the local council. Stores on retail parks or in smaller towns and villages with less camera coverage would do well to consider installing CCTV as a deterrent, as well as a way of ensuring a prosecution. While the front of a store may be well served by lighting and CCTV coverage, as well as the presence of pedestrians and traffic, the rear entrances are often more vulnerable to break-ins thanks to the relative peace and quiet these areas provide. Store owners can use motion activated lighting to deter potential burglars, and CCTV to act as a further deterrent.
Having an intruder alarm is vital, wherever the store is located. The loud noise of an alarm going off is often enough to scare away opportunist thieves, but those who have specifically targeted your store are likely to push through and carry out their crime anyway – very often they can be in and out before anyone checks out the alarm and before the police arrive. Using a 24 hour monitoring service to check your alarm triggers and check your CCTV feeds is a great way of ensuring that any crime will be addressed before it gets a chance to get going – the sooner the police are alerted and provided with a description of the criminals the sooner they can catch them, meaning less damage to your property and a chance of getting back any goods that have been taken.
Most of these concerns are about what is happening overnight, but theft happens during the day as well. Small business owners may not be able to shoulder the costs of having security personnel on site, or even having constant monitoring of their CCTV. There are some things that can be done easily to reduce the chance of in-store theft though, so all is not lost. Store owners can call on friends and family for some role playing to determine which areas of the store can’t be seen easily, and therefore, shouldn’t be the location of small and expensive items that can be slipped into a pocket. They may also want to call on friends or family to be an extra presence in the store at busy times, as a backup and an extra pair of eyes. CCTV should still be used; as it can be a valuable source of evidence should theft happen.
Large stores and chains tend to have the capital to employ security guards and this is a great way of reducing theft. Security staff on the floor can communicate with CCTV monitors to find out where potentially shifty people are, so they can watch and follow them to stop shoplifting before it happens. During busy Christmas shopping periods it is easy for the light-fingered person to blend into the crowd, so it can be worth employing seasonal security staff at these times, especially if you sell high value items that are likely to be the target of thieves.
Lastly, stores that take deliveries of popular toys or products face a risk of theft while goods are being unloaded. It is advisable to have CCTV in loading areas, as well as an extra staff member or two to ensure the van is not left unattended while goods are being brought in.
Talk to P&R Alarms today to find out how you can protect your business from seasonal crime.