3 key steps to help deter shoplifting

2 minute read  

Finding ways to safeguard your stock and deter shoplifting is an ongoing concern for business owners. Thefts occur at businesses more frequently than any other type of loss, but it’s also the one you have the greatest opportunity to prevent.

Thieves commonly target items that are transportable, easily turned into cash and are in high demand. Examples of target stock include alcohol, tools, leather clothing, ATMs, ATVs, lawn and garden equipment, cigarettes, and truck tires.

Although with inflation on the rise and the cost of consumer goods increasing, shoplifting can include everyday essentials like groceries or food items. An average-sized general retail store in Canada can have between $2,000 and $5,000 worth of groceries stolen per week.

Loss prevention strategies to prevent theft of inventory requires planning and foresight. Understanding your business’s floor plan, clientele, and inventory are essential to your theft prevention strategy. Loss prevention is not necessarily about high tech security – it’s about making it difficult for thieves to steal.

How can I deter shoplifting and theft?

Step I – Identify which items in your inventory shoplifters may want to target.

Make a list of all the items on your property and determine which ones may be potential targets. If possible, incorporate record-keeping into your business’ inventory tracking system. It’ll help you identify which items are potential targets and if inventory does go missing, you’ll have a record of it.

Step II – Identify the potential ways individuals may try to steal from your business.

For each item you have identified as target stock, try to list all of the possible ways a thief may steal them.  Possible types of theft could include:

  • Shoplifting: Pretending to be a customer, taking and concealing goods, then leaving a business
  • Smash and grab: Breaking a barrier (window or showcase), grabbing valuables, and then leaving quickly
  • Breaking and entering: Entering a business without permission (usually outside of business hours) with the intention of committing theft
  • Aggravated robbery: Using force or the threat of force to steal goods

Step III – Identify strategies to prevent theft

There are many possible strategies you can employ to prevent theft. Your strategy will depend on a number of factors including the type of stock your business carries, the ways a potential thief could steal from you, and your current theft protection strategies.

The loss prevention action required for target stock will be significantly more involved than the loss prevention action taken for other non-target merchandise. A good example of this is how department stores may lock certain electronics behind a display case or require you to chat with an employee to acquire them. Possible strategies for deterring theft could include:

  • Position inventory away from windows and doors – to prevent smash and grabs.
  • Keep a minimal amount of inventory in the sales area.
  • Keep inventory secured at all times with locked cabinets, chains, closed loop alarm cables, etc.
  • If your inventory is outside during business hours, move it to a secure indoor location overnight.
  • Install monitored burglar alarms with motion sensors, glass breakage sensors, and door contacts.
  • Install closed circuit security cameras.
  • Install fog security.
  • Alarm any perimeter fencing on property.
  • Maintain adequate interior night lighting.
  • Install exterior security lighting.
  • Install security window bars.
  • Install security film on windows.

Ensure you’re protected

Despite your best efforts, sometimes theft and shoplifting cannot be prevented. That’s why having the right insurance policy is essential in any loss prevention strategy. To learn more about how a tailored policy can help protect you, your employees, and your business, visit our business insurance page now.

This blog is provided for information only and is not a substitute for professional advice. We make no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy or completeness of the information and will not be responsible for any loss arising out of reliance on the information.