How serious is the shoplifting issue in Perth Retail?

In a recent overview of retail crimes presented by the WA Department of Justice, it was shown that over 70% of all reported crimes in retail shops were from shoplifting. In WA, the total cost from shoplifting, employee theft and fraud was over $420 million in the years 2014 to 2015.

Using security cameras or employing your own security guards greatly reduces the event of retail theft from occurring. However, small shops usually cannot afford such expensive measures, so there are other cheaper ways they can reduce the risk of shoplifting. Here are some of those ways:

1. Create your own loss prevention plan

If you review your shops history of revenue shrink and cases of shoplifting, you will be able to see trends and correlations that you can use to create a better prevention plan. See if there is a pattern to the timing of your revenue shrink, for example around a certain season, and plan around that,

2. Avoid disorganized, messy shelves in your shop

Shoplifters can easily steal from messy piles of products without you realising. By keeping your display items neatly stacked in simple rows, it makes it easier to realize if an item has gone missing.

3. Use extra layers of protection for higher priced items

Smaller, pricey items are a popular target for shoplifting. You should keep these items where employees can see them from their work area. You may also want to use locked cases for expensive items, of place them on higher shelves so customers require assistance to access them.

4. Give your customers excellent service

Use every day in your store to connect with your customers and build relationships with them. Try to know them by their first name and ask them how they are and if they need help finding what the need. If someone plans to shoplift from your store, they will have a difficult time stealing from you if you know them or can identify them. Keeping good relationships with customers will not only give your store a positive vibe and increase sales, but customers will also be more likely to report anything strange happening if they witness it.

5. Learn how to identify suspicious behavior

Whilst not all shoplifters act the same, they all usually have similar traits (for example, wearing baggy clothes or using large bags) and do similar things (for example, checking if someone is watching them, or loitering). Be wary of these signs and have a plan of action if you see any of these behaviors in your shop.

6. Use warning signs

Use theft prevention signs where shoppers can easily see them, or near more expensive items. These signs can show any of the following:

  • Shoppers are currently being watched
  • There are punishments for theft

Statewide Security Services regularly use signs to show an area is being monitored, and is an inexpensive way to deter theft.

7. Keep track of items going in and out of dressing rooms

If you own a shop that offers dressing rooms, limit the amount of items that a customer can take inside. You may also use a numbering system to keep track of the items that go in and out.

8. Create your own store shoplifting policy

Do all your employees know what to do when they catch someone stealing? You should learn about Western Australian laws on theft and use them in your shoplifting policy. Keeping the contacts details of the WA Police handy is a good idea in case you or your employees need to report an incident.

9. Use more employees during peak shoplifting periods

If you know certain periods of time has more incidents of shoplifting (i.e. Christmas holidays), use more employees during this time so there are more eyes in your store keeping track of customers and your inventory.

10. Have a firm refund policy

It’s a popular trick for people who steal from shops to come back and try to get a refund on the stolen item. You can use a refund policy that makes sure a refund is only given if a valid receipt is presented. If shoplifters know they cannot get a refund on a stolen item at your shop, they’ll likely reconsider stealing.

11. Teach your workers about security protocols

In additional to teaching them overall security in your shop, teach your employees about specific procedures they need to take in a scenario where crime has occurred and what roles they need to take to prevent it from happening.

12. Keep security in mind when designing your store layout

A key to crime prevention is visibility. Good lighting, low placed shelves and a smart floor plan can have a biggest impact on reducing blind spots in your shop and reduce shoplifting.

In Conclusion

Shoplifting is the most common crime in retail and costs businesses million of dollars every year. If you cannot afford expensive security cameras or security guards, you can still do the points above to help reduce shoplifting. If you would like to know more about retail crime and reducing your risk of shoplifting, Statewide Security Australia would be more than happy to conduct a risk assessment of your premise so that you can get a better idea of likely threats you need to prepare for.