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5 TOP Tips to Prevent SHOPLIFTING

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Recent statistics show shoplifting is on the increase, with just under 400,000 offences recorded in the UK in the last year alone. For the small business owner, its impact can be particularly significant, especially if you are seen as an easy target. Here are five preventative tips to follow to help protect your small business from thieves.

1. Consider your shop layout

According to Northamptonshire Police, “Most items stolen from shops are done so because they are concealable, removable, available, valuable, and disposable.” Consider the positioning of items that fit a number of these descriptions, such as make-up, alcohol and razors and ensure they are away from exits, in high staffed areas, or even behind the counter.

2. Prevent opportunists with good customer service

In order for a theft to take place, a would-be offender needs to be motivated enough to believe they will get away with the crime unnoticed. If you observe suspicious behaviour, approach the customer and ask if they need any assistance. This action alone may be enough to unnerve some shoplifters. Ensuring there are always plenty of staff on hand, especially towards the exits, is not only a deterrent for offenders but promotes a more positive shopping experience for your customers.

3. Warning Signage

Although simple, visual anti-shoplifting signs are a huge deterrent for would-be thieves, posters stating shoplifters will be prosecuted or notifying customers that CCTV is in place are extremely effective. CCTV is a worthwhile investment to help you catch and prosecute thieves, reassure customers and make your staff feel better protected. However, even if you currently don’t have CCTV, signage alone is a powerful tool.

4. Develop an anti-shoplifting policy

While signs may be effective, your staff should be fully trained in knowing how to spot a shoplifter, what to do if they suspect a shoplifter and how to respond if a thief is caught. Ensure a robust anti-shoplifting policy is in place and that all staff are familiar with its procedures.

5. Be vigilant

Of course, while there is no “one size fits all” description of the average shoplifter, there are a number of behaviours to look out for, such as:

– Wearing a large coat, especially in summer, or carrying a large bag;
– Picking up and putting back the same items repeatedly;
– Looking nervous;
– Being more interested in their surroundings than the products they are browsing.

Above all, remember that most shoplifters are opportunists. Remove the opportunity, and the theft is more than often prevented.

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