8 Low-Cost Ways To Fight Shoplifting and Theft

by Joe Greek on January 18, 2011
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If you run a retail operation, this number will sound scary: According to the Loss Prevention Research Council, 1 out of 11 customers is a habitual shoplifter, and their actions result in losses of nearly $10 billion worth of merchandise each year in the United States. To cover the cost, retailers are often forced to pass the cost on to law-abiding customers, raising prices for everyone.

To combat the huge cost of shoplifting and theft, retailers have relied on a variety of security techniques and tools. While solutions such as security guards and surveillance systems provide ample protection, their price tags can be draining on budget-minded retailers. Luckily, there are a few low-cost alternatives that retailers and their businesses can benefit from.

Here are eight low cost ways that retailers can fight shoplifting and theft without breaking the bank:

1) Layout of the business – Arrange aisles and displays to reduce the amount of space that is out of view of employees. Retailers should also place checkout stations near entrances so that potential shoplifting hands are viewable on their way out.

2) Security system decals – Even the dimmest criminal is more likely to walk past a business that could potentially have a state-of-the-art security defense system than a business without any warning signs. A simple warning decal on the front door can deter shoplifting and theft.

3) Merchandise placement – Avoid unnecessarily displaying merchandise near entrances or by unlocked exits. The professional shoplifter functions in the retailers’ environment like a wolf in the wilderness, capable of smelling prey from a mile away and gravitating to the priciest items where security is weak.

4) Speak another language – Developing a special code language for employees, using words or phrases to indicate that a customer needs to be supervised or confronted, is a valuable technique you can use to thwart potential shoplifting and theft that lets you remain inconspicuous and avoids embarrassing someone who may not be guilty of a crime.

5) Check rear view mirrors – For several decades now, retailers have utilized the placement of convex mirrors in their businesses. The mirror allows employees to monitor areas of a business where shoplifting and theft could be carried out, otherwise out of sight.

6) Give an early warning – Businesses can beat shoplifting to the punch by placing warning notices near expensive and popular merchandise that warns of the involvement of security or police in the event of theft.

7) Decoy security cameras – The cost of installing and regularly watching security cameras requires more resources and upkeep than many retailers can provide. However, dummy cameras are a considerably cheaper alternative that offer nearly the same level of deterrent, and there are numerous businesses that sell them online.

8) Take action – The cost of hiring a lawyer and tackling shoplifting in court can put a real pinch on the wallet. An easier solution is to simply utilize police intervention to give a good scare to any sticky-fingered customers that might think of shoplifting again, whether or not you choose to prosecute.

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