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Security Strategies to Stop Shoplifters

September 18th, 2013 | by admin admin | in Security Advice |    1   comments

shoplifting.jpgCan you spot a shoplifter? Is he the scruffy panhandler pawing through the clearance bin? The teen laughing and joking with her friends by the make-up counter? The young mom stuffing groceries into her stroller basket? The elderly gentleman returning an umbrella for which he has no receipt?

Shoplifters may be any age, gender, ethnicity or socio-economic background. They often work in pairs or groups, creating a distraction while they steal. They know clerks are less alert during opening, closing, mealtimes and shift changes. And any busy, crowded store makes a prime target.

Since losses from theft are passed on to consumers, shoplifting affects everyone, as the posters point out. These prominent posters—warning of swift prosecution, even for a first offense—discourage shoplifters and show the business is not an easy target.

Another prevention strategy is to make shoplifters feel watched:

  • Elevate the cashier’s platform
  • Install mirrors
  • Install one-way glass

Today’s video surveillance cameras offer a range of options for monitoring shoplifters and collecting evidence. While clerks and other customers watch CCTVs during store hours, security cameras and alarm systems can detect intruders after hours.

Some shoplifters try to return merchandise they never bought. That’s why most retailers require receipts for returns. Without a receipt, a customer should provide photo ID and signature, in exchange for a merchandise-only voucher. Conduct regular audits to catch false returns without a valid receipt.

You can also arrange displays to discourage shoplifting. The Mission RCMP recommends that retail business owners:

  • Keep display and clothing racks away from entrances and exits to discourage "hit-and-run" thieves.
  • Alternate hangers front-to-back to prevent thieves from quickly grabbing bundles of display clothing. 
  • Keep small and expensive items out of reach or in locked display cases.
  • Use good locks and laminated or strong glass in cases that contain expensive items.
  • Arrange merchandise neatly to make it easier to detect missing items. 

As an honest customer, if you suspect someone has stolen and concealed an item, keep the person in view and notify a clerk or security personnel immediately. Never approach a suspect on your own.

More Shoplifting Prevention Tips from the Mission RCMP


Note: This blog discusses general safety and security topics. It is not intended to provide comprehensive advice or guidance. In all matters of personal safety and security, we encourage readers to research topics in depth and consult a security professional about specific concerns.

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