If you own a shop, no matter what you sell, it is likely that crime, both serious and casual, is something you worry about. Whether it is the theft of some of your stock by petty thieves, vandalism of your premises, or more serious things like armed robberies you are concerned about, chances are you are aware of these issues in your market, and maybe they are even affecting you already.
While having insurance and putting some contingency in your budgets for loss of items from your stock to theft is of course prudent, many shopkeepers don’t really know how to fight crime, and just see it as an unfortunate part of the territory.
In fact, there are lots of ways to deter thieves, vandals and even staff who might want to steal from you, and the law is also on your side if you catch people and want to prosecute them.
One of the most effective ways to catch casual shoplifters in your shop and recover the things they were trying to steal is to use plain clothes store detectives. While they don’t look as imposing as security guards in uniform, they are great for covertly watching people who are behaving suspiciously and can catch thieves very efficiently. Once someone has been caught of course the choice as to whether you want to prosecute them, ban them from the store or just give them a warning.
This is something you as a shopkeeper should have as a fixed policy, so if you aren’t there your staff and your store detective know how you would want the crime handled. As a lot of casual shoplifters tend to be minors you should also have a policy in place for dealing with these cases, whether you choose to get the police involved, notify the parents or take another form of action.
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CCTV security cameras work well when it comes to fighting crime on a number of levels.
Firstly, they serve as a very strong deterrent to casual thieves because nobody likes the thought that their crime might be captured for posterity on film.
Secondly, they give people using your store a sense of security that you are making an effort to protect them and their property – remember that as well as stealing your goods, criminals might try to pickpocket your customers.
Thirdly, when a crime does occur, you may be able to catch the perpetrator in the act if you have someone monitoring the cameras, and it is also a good way to direct your detectives to where people are loitering or acting unusually.
Finally, if the worst happens and your store is held up by armed robbers, if you have cameras it may help the police to find who they are and catch them. With modern online camera systems CCTV doesn’t have to be a huge overhead, and you may well find it pays for itself in a short while if it stops you losing as much property to casual theft. CCTV is also shown to cut the amount of in-house theft by staff in retail stores, so if this is a concern you should definitely put some cameras in.
Today’s guest author, Kate Harris, is an avid blogger who often writes for AAA Satellite, a company supplying a range of security related products. Her hobbies include stitching and crochet.