Protect your shop against Christmas crime
The festive season is a time of giving, a chance to connect with old friends and relatives and an excuse to eat and drink as much as you fancy. With such merriment and good tidings going around, the Christmas period usually sees very little crime – with one significant exception. Shop owners and the retail industry in general and find the increased footfall can often be a double-edged sword as the holiday free-for-all attitudes increase.
Shoplifting is often seen as a victimless crime but for business owners and shop managers this isn’t the case. A 2013 report revealed that shoplifting during the six weeks leading up to December 25th cost the country around £485 million – a total of £37.04 per family as prices are put up to cover the stolen goods.
Retailers often use the increased custom during Christmas to make up for any shortfalls during the year, so why should you be denied the extra profits? With the proper security systems in place, it should be manageable to protect your shop, your stock and your sense of festive cheer.
Taking their chances
If you’re working in a busy shopping centre or outlet, then there will probably be a comprehensive security camera system in place already. But often thieves can be opportunists, and if they think they are out of sight from a visible CCTV camera, then they will take their chances. Hidden cameras can catch out the occasional thief as well as reach blindspots in your shop that the CCTV system won’t be able to reach. Peephole wireless cameras are perfect as there is no worry about wires complicating positions.
For those of you who run an independent or smaller store, it might be worth investing in your own wireless CCTV system. The most stolen products include alcohol, decorations and toiletries and any store, big or small, can be targeted. Our wireless CCTV system reaches over 1,000 feet and can be set to record 24 hours a day if you wish. For shops selling alcohol this could be particularly important – the nature of the festive season increases the booze consumption across the country and leaves shop owners vulnerable to drunk behaviour late at night.
The threat from the staff room
With the month of December increasing sales by up to 60% when compared with the rest of the year, it’s not uncommon for retailers to employ hoards of temporary staff to cover the extra shoppers.
But this time of year figures consistently shows an increase in employee theft too. Temporary staff theft cost the UK economy over £300m in 2013, with research showing that seasonal workers are more likely to lie on their CV – this means absolute vigilance in all areas of your shop is, unfortunately, essential.
A thorough check on the background of your temporary employee is vital however it’s understandable that the rush of Christmas doesn’t always allow time for this. It may be worth installing a hidden camera in the staff room and any corridors or stock rooms. You have the option of telling your staff as a prior warning or keep it quiet so not to ruin any trust built up between you should they turn out to be innocent of any wrongdoing.
Work with people
Of course, another security option at this time of year is to hire some extra man power. Security guard agencies all over the country will have many men and women on their books ready to help out with safeguarding your shop this Christmas. Standing them by the door, asking them to walk around the shop floor and ensuring they keep an eye on suspicious-looking characters will make a huge impact. You’d be surprised at how many opportunist thieves are put off by the presence of a person with a walkie-talkie and a stern face.
It could also be a good idea to get acquainted with your local police officer. They will be able to identify repeat offenders and local crime gangs as well as build a trusted relationship should you ever need to report a theft. You could start by chatting with your local community support officer, who will be able to give you any information on retail crime partnerships that could be of help in your area.
Think about your layout
The most popular items for people to steal tend to be of high value and easy to sell on to others. Unfortunately for shop owners, these are also the items that make them the most money. For the sake of profit, top-selling products will usually be displayed explicitly and, therefore, easier to nab in a moment’s notice. We recommend putting these items in view of the till and clear site of any CCTV or hidden cameras.
Security should be every shop owner’s top priority, not only to make sure that nothing gets stolen but also to guarantee the safety of the staff and customers. The sheer amount of people hitting the shops come the festive season can create a real problem, but utilise the range of security options that are on offer and everyone should have a thoroughly happy Christmas.