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Business theft in Leicester
Running a business is hard work and there’s nothing worse than having that livelihood threatened or taken away from you through crime.
The constabulary within Leicestershire and its nearby smaller county of Rutland work hard to prevent this from becoming a cause for concern. They police over 965 square miles containing a population close to one million residents. There are 15 local policing units, which all take great care to meet the varying needs of Leicester’s diverse community.
When it comes to theft from businesses, shoplifting is quite a notable occurrence. This is mainly because it is predicated upon spontaneous acts that take place because the opportunity presents itself. In October 2016, as UK Crime Stats reports, there were 503 cases of shoplifting within Leicestershire that month. This rose to 604 the month after and returned back to 528 in December 2016 [source].
It’s one of the more common thefts that the Leicestershire community faces, sitting roughly around the same level as vehicle theft (862 occurrences in October 2016). Against the backdrop of England and Wales overall, there were 31,613 occasions of shoplifting theft within November 2016 and 30,083 the following month. It is much higher than bike theft, which is also opportunistic, but which happened 7,836 and 5,925 times nationwide in comparison.
There is also the risk of businesses falling victim to deliberate, organised crime. The statistics for burglary are not specified just for businesses and can include all types of premises and dwellings, including homes, but to give an example – in November 2016 there were 851 cases of burglaries and 642 the month after. It is a threat that businesses need to be aware of, just as much as spontaneous shoplifting occurrences. These can both, in their own ways, be particularly costly and can also cause insurance premiums to rise.
There are some things you can do to help prevent theft from your business:
- If you are selling goods within your premises, putting your checkouts in the same place as the exit will help to prevent people from walking out with goods – as will detectors that will go off as a warning sound. Along with alerting you to potential thefts, they also act as a deterrent to would-be criminals.
- Keep your stock organised and products clearly visible to make it easy to spot if something has gone missing.
- Shoplifters tend to work in pairs or groups and will use distraction techniques in order to conceal their thefts. Ensure your staff are well-trained and wary about what to do in these circumstances and ensure they’re always on the ball.
- It’s important to know where stolen goods can be hidden – handbags, pushchairs, carrier bags and within clothing are all commons places for concealment. Knowing what looks out of the ordinary is important, along with remaining vigilant.
- If you’re able to afford it, there is a huge benefit to installing CCTV on your business premises – both within the store to prevent shoplifting, but also outside, facing any entrances, exits and windows. This can be a deterrent to burglars but also evidence in court should someone enter your business.
- Ensure your staff are vigilant for labels being swapped and products having their prices switched or discount stickers added when they’re not in the sale.
- In the event that a customer is acting suspiciously – for example, they take a few items into a dressing room but don’t leave with the same amount, or are acting shiftily and suspicious – ensure your staff are trained with a polite and professional strategy for raising their concerns without unsettling other shoppers.
- Ensuring you have enough store staff is important – and, if you’re a larger business that is at high risk of burglary or that sells high ticket items, consider hiring security staff too.
- If you have a large glass store front, investing in secure metal shop rollers and shutters will help to prevent overnight thefts and will deter potential burglars from driving a vehicle into your business.
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