Has the cost-of-living crisis increased shoplifting? Best ways to keep your shops safe

As the rising cost of living continues to affect us all, you may be wondering if shoplifting is on the rise, too.

Sadly, but perhaps not unexpectedly, recent data from The Office of National Statistics has confirmed that by the end of December 2022, shoplifting had risen by 23%. As the potential for millions of people to fall into food and fuel poverty increases, this figure looks set to rise further.

But how can shop owners keep their premises and stock safe if more and more people are forced to turn to shoplifting?

Here are our top tips for keeping your shop safe as the nation continues to navigate tricky economic conditions.

1.      Retail Security

Retail security offers unparalleled protection from shoplifting and other anti-social crimes, helping to protect your bottom line and your staff from harm.

Professional, reliable, and approachable, good retail security can deter instances of shoplifting – often without doing much more than patrolling the store and observing suspicious shoppers closely.

Shoplifters will often be spooked if they suspect they’ve been spotted, so the good customer service found in a trusted retail security officer can easily prevent theft.

Other techniques used by good quality retail security include, but are not limited to:

  • Placing themselves in key areas such as entrances and near high-value items, to enforce a visual deterrent.
  • Patrolling the store to make themselves accessible to members of the public who could report suspicious activity.
  • Approaching potential shoplifters to see if they need help, which often results in shoplifters leaving the store.
  • Checking receipts and bags as shoppers leave if they suspect shoplifting may have occurred.
  • Keeping would-be thieves from lingering near tills and cash machines, which can make theft more likely and discourage customers from entering.
  • Monitoring CCTV and passing this information on to members of security staff out on the floor.
  • Liaising with the police, filling out report paperwork and making statements should shoplifting occur- also increasing the chance of prosecution if shoplifting does occur.
  • Restricting entry to banned members of the public.

2.      CCTV

One of the easiest ways to prevent shoplifting is to prepare for it – if you don’t notice something has happened, then there’ll be very little you can do about it. Chances are, you won’t be able to stop it from happening again, either.

Installing CCTV cameras and signs warning that CCTV is in operation works as a visual deterrent, allows you to see back corners with ease, and also gives you proof of theft if it occurs – allowing you to easily prosecute offenders.

CCTV can also make it much easier to spot a shoplifter, who could give off visual clues including:

  • Trying to avoid detection.
  • Appearing nervous, sweating, or flushing/ blushing.
  • Picking up and putting back the same items multiple times.
  • Focusing more attention on what’s around them rather than products or shelving displays, including looking around for CCTV cameras.
  • Dressing in large coats, even in hot weather, or carrying large bags.

3.      Make things harder to access

If there are items you know are more likely to be stolen, either because they are commonly stolen or they’re more expensive, there are a few things you can do to make these products harder for customers to access – reducing the likelihood of theft.

These include using:

  • Locked display cases.
  • Alarmed security tags and detectors at exits.
  • Dummy or empty products that customers can exchange for the real item after paying (this is increasingly being utilised for non-perishable, high-value items such as coffee or washing tablets).
  • Prominent positioning of valuable items near the till or security staff so they can be observed by staff.
  • Placing the till near the entrance/exit so customers have to pass a member of staff when leaving.

4.      Perform regular stock takes

Big market players like Costco frequently conduct stock takes throughout the day, especially for high-value items.

Routinely checking how much stock is currently on the shop floor ensures that staff notice if stock is missing much sooner. This can also make it easier to spot patterns of theft, which can help you pinpoint potential shoplifters.

Similarly, it can help to prevent putting out excess stock, which can be tempting for potential shoplifters.

Let T-Class services reduce your shoplifting rates

If your business has become a target for shoplifters, consider an all-around security service from the experts at T-Class Security UK.

With security packages including retail security, CCTV, and access monitoring, you’ll be safe from shoplifting in no time.

For a bespoke quote, give our friendly team a call on 020 3794 8182 or send us an email and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.  

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