Retail theft – or shoplifting - is a major problem for many stores. It can be frustrating and costly.
Don’t worry though. Here are some simple and straightforward tips to help keep staff and customers safe, theft to a minimum and shoplifters at bay.
Always greet customers when they enter. A friendly hello or a simple “Can I help you?” or “Are you looking for something in particular?” not only makes a customer's day but can also deter a shoplifter as they’ll know they’ve been noticed.
Keep an eye out for customers behaving suspiciously – from customers lurking nervously before entering, to those carrying backpacks or large bags, or even those wearing bulky coats in summer. Especially watch out for:
Install cameras in your store. Just the sight of one can make a potential thief think twice. Show customers they are on camera by having the feed visible. If your store has blind spots, use mirrors and display signage clearly stating that shoplifters will be prosecuted. Place an employee near the exit so it’s harder for a thief to just dash out unnoticed.
Regularly pop into the fitting rooms and keep tabs on incoming and outgoing items. Some folks might try to hide tags, packaging or empty hangers in there. Regular check inventory to identify any missing items and keep shelves and racks neat so it’s easier to spot if something has disappeared.
A bright, open, airy store doesn’t just appeal to genuine customers, it also makes theft a lot trickier. Ensure your store is well-lit, shelves and racks are within view of staff, and the counter and cash register is strategically located.
If you have expensive items, consider locking them up or placing them in a secure case or cabinet or behind security gates. Make customers ask for help if they want to see them. And while we’re on barriers, limit store entries and exits, and access to staff areas, and ensure they're locked properly.
Install security tags or labels (also known as Electronic Article Surveillance) on your stock. These tags and labels will sound an alarm if not property removed or deactivated. Trust us, they can be a lifesaver.
It’s handy to build a rapport with local police and shopping centre security. They can provide valuable advice and conduct regular patrols. It also helps if they’re familiar with your store's layout. Always report any thefts or suspicious activity.
Your safety is paramount. Never confront a shoplifter directly. It’s not worth the risk. If you're sure of the theft:
However, if there's any uncertainty, it's better to hold back. A wrongful accusation could land you and your store in hot water.
Neighbourhood Watch Victoria acknowledges the 38 mobs, the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we operate, live, and gather as employees and volunteers. We recognise their continuing connection to land, water and community and pay respect to Elders past, present and emerging.
At Neighbourhood Watch, we believe everyone has the right to feel safe and welcome. We are committed to ensuring diversity, inclusion and equity are embedded throughout our organisation – in the work we do, the services we deliver and among our staff, volunteers, and the communities we work with.