Facts on retail theft: Safeguarding against shoplifters and employee theft

Facts on retail theft: Safeguarding against shoplifters and employee theft

When imagining the most commonly stolen retail items, what comes to mind? Is it jewelry, small electronics, or alcohol? Clothing, accessories, or household items? According to recent studies, the merchandise at the top of this list is actually… packaged meat and cheese. 

While meat has continued its climb as one of the top items stolen, cheese has been a long standing target of shoplifters. In 2011, cheese was the most commonly stolen item in the world. Though these perishables come shockingly in first, other popular targets include: 

  • Cosmetics 
  • Razors and deodorant  
  • Batteries
  • Baby clothes and formula 
  • Perfume and fragrance 
  • Over-the-counter medicine 
  • Whisky, gin, and champagne 

The items on this list have one major thing in common: high demand. Small items like cosmetics, razors, and over-the-counter medicines are easy targets for shoplifters, as they can be slipped into pockets or purses, while meat and cheese are easily disposable. When considering what items may be at risk of theft, business owners should think of the acronym, CRAVED

  • Concealable – Is the item easily hidden in pockets or bags? Would it be difficult to distinguish from personal belongings, or other shopped items if discovered?
  • Removable – How simple is it to transport the item? Items that are simple to carry, like electronics or alcohol, and items that are already mobile, like bicycles and cars, are at higher risk of being stolen. 
  • Available – Is the product in high demand and commonly found at the store? Outside of a retail site, this explains why cash and jewelry are among the items most likely to be stolen from a home.  
  • Valuable – How expensive is the item? In many cases, items are shoplifted out of necessity, or for resale. This means higher priced items are more at risk. 
  • Enjoyable – Many products are removable, available, and valuable, yet products like alcohol, tobacco, and DVDs are targeted more often than shoes or handbags. The enjoyment of an item is an important factor when shoplifters are planning their grab. 
  • Disposable – Items that can be easily disposed of are more often shoplifted. When considering disposal, shoplifters may select items that can be easily resold. This may explain why razors are the most stolen items at drugstores. 

Another threat to a retail site’s security is employee theft. Statistics report that 95% of all businesses have experienced employee theft. Employees have increased access to products, and wider windows of opportunity to steal merchandise or information.

Loss prevention: Freeze retail theft  

When it comes to preventing shoplifters from swiping products, there are various steps business owners can take. First, business owners should train employees to identify potential shoplifters. It is important to note that thieves do not look a certain way or belong to any specific group. Shoplifters, however, often act in ways that may indicate their intentions. Employees should look out for customers who linger in certain aisles or areas in a store, customers who frequently eye employees and look away, and customers who carry backpacks/other larger bags. 

If an employee identifies a potential shoplifter, they should approach the individual as though they are providing assistance. The notion that they are being watched may be enough to prevent a shoplifter from carrying out their swipe. 

Another method of preventing, and in the case of completed crime, identifying theft, is taking inventory. With employee theft especially, making it known that inventory is taken each day, week, or month, can serve as a deterrent. If items are being removed unlawfully, inventory can also help a business owner to quickly identify this issue. 

Video surveillance

Perhaps the most effective method of preventing retail theft is video surveillance. Video surveillance systems are engineered to monitor your retail site from all angles, closing the “window of opportunity” for shoplifters and employees alike. Camera surveillance offers high resolution video that can act as a deterrent to thieves, and in the case of completed crime, can assist in identifying shoplifters.  

At EPS Security, our on-site engineers develop customized video surveillance solutions to meet your security needs. Our HD indoor and outdoor cameras allow for 24/7 surveillance of your business, with easy storage of and access to video footage. Camera surveillance solutions at EPS come with remote video viewing, so you can monitor your business from your smartphone or PC. Our full-service company installs, upgrades, and performs preventative maintenance on commercial camera systems. Additionally, EPS extends software support and user training for video surveillance customers. Our camera solutions are truly the best in business. 

Intrusion alarm systems

Video surveillance is only a small part of a comprehensive security system. Intrusion alarm systems are designed to secure your business from burglary at all hours. While camera systems monitor the people expected at your business, reactive intrusion alarms safeguard your property from unwelcome visitors.

Intrusion alarm signals are composed of four main parts: door contacts designed to alert when an entrance is breached, motion sensors, which detect movement in protected areas, glassbreak sensors that alarm with the sound of shattered glass, and a central keypad. When activated, intrusion alarms sound on site, working to scare off intruders and to notify anyone in proximity of a crime-in-progress. With a monitored alarm system, your intrusion alarms will send an emergency signal to a designated monitoring center, where seasoned dispatchers will handle your alarm events with urgency.

Access control

Card access systems play a major role in mitigating the risk of employee theft. Access control allows for individualized access programming for all persons on your business site. With individualized access, you can rest assured knowing only those permitted in a certain area can swipe in. When programming access for each employee, you can customize authorization based on areas within your property, or by hours. Not only do card access systems protect your property and products, but they allow for authorized employees to access necessary locations without oversight, saving management time and resources. At EPS Security, our Managed Access Control team is here to help you get started on an access solution that best fits your business. 

The EPS advantage 

For more than 65 years, EPS Security has provided personalized security solutions to Michigan businesses. At EPS, protecting your people, places, and things is our highest priority. We believe that business security and life safety is an important partnership. That is why we work with Michiganders one-on-one to identify your security goals, and commit fully to meeting them. If you are ready to get started protecting your property from various internal and external threats, EPS is here to guide you. 

Commercial security with the EPS advantage

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