The Proactive Retailer’s Guide To Shoplifting Prevention Techniques

Shoplifting accounts for almost 40% of shrink for retailers, making prevention an obvious priority. Shoplifting prevention techniques already in use often center on detecting these behaviors, but don’t take into account issues with store layout and blind spots. A busy department can make it challenging to catch a potential thief, but surveillance and reliable communications systems can help.

Loss control departments needs a means of monitoring people in real time, but extensive physical security may be cost-prohibitive even for large locations. Taking the burden off employees and putting it on technology is one of the most effective shoplifting prevention techniques for retailers.

The Importance of Preventing by Prosecuting Shoplifting

One of the best ways to deter would-be thieves is a strong prosecution history. However, retailers are often frustrated with how difficult it is to gain convictions in these cases. The time and expense involved may make the process seem pointless. This frustration leads to a vicious circle where the location gets a reputation of being lax on crime, resulting in even more shoplifting. To truly be proactive in addressing and preventing shoplifting shrink, retailers must do a better job of catching shoplifters in the store and proving their cases in court. The problem in both scenarios is not being able to gauge intent accurately.

A retailer must prove that an individual took an item, concealed it and left the store without paying on purpose. The most common defense raised in shoplifting cases is an accidental oversight. The individual may claim they put an item in their pocket or bag with intentions of paying for it later but just forgot. Retailers use employee testimony and video surveillance to refute such claims, and video footage is considered one of the best ways to defend a case.

The challenge in both cases is the quality of that evidence. Employees must actively see the individual take, conceal and attempt to leave with an item. Video surveillance must be clear enough and provide a consistent enough stream of information to monitor them and pinpoint their movements. Integrated retail security systems provide stores with a way to monitor and track suspected thieves while minimizing business disruptions. Security partners like 3Sixty Integrated specialize in ensuring video surveillance cover all areas most effective at deterring crime.   

Technology for Supporting Shoplifting Prevention Techniques

Communications and surveillance systems provide stores with an opportunity to prevent shoplifting before it happens and successfully prosecute when it does. Thefts occur quickly, and the ability to consistently monitor an entire store and communicate with employees on the floor is critical. Loss control departments gains the advantage against theft with a robust system which tracks individuals and provides:

  • Detection communication. Strategically placed IP call stations allow employees to alert loss control quickly and discreetly of concerning activities, like someone loitering in a high-risk area or acting suspiciously. These work off the company’s internal network, ensuring coverage even without a phone line.  
  • Suspect monitoring. Loss control can track individuals as they move through the store using a series of strategically placed cameras. These IP devices provide full store visibility while blind spot cameras monitor areas with a lot of coverage that thieves might target.  
  • Floor staff coordination. Loss control can communicate with employees on the floor using the internal network and keep them updated.  Empowered with real-time information, they can confront the suspect before they leave the store and deescalate the situation.
  • Evidence cataloging. An integrated surveillance system offers the ability to tag crucial pieces of footage with dates, times and names to provide evidence for criminal cases. This tagging is especially useful in cases with habitual offenders as it allows retailers to keep records of all incidents much more easily.

Proactive monitoring of suspicious individuals acts as one of the best shoplifting prevention techniques for retailers. Critical communications systems help keep employees connected with loss control and apprised of suspicious behaviors. Loss control can then monitor and verify the theft before confronting the individuals. Integrated technology helps streamline shoplifting prevention for retailers while minimizing the high cost of increasing security staff.

3Sixty Integrated helps retailers establish strong shoplifting prevention programs by combining powerful surveillance with best-in-class communications systems. Our technicians create a full electronic blueprint to help your location identify areas of high risk and reinforce them with electronic security. For more information, call (210) 545-1770 or fill out our contact form.