5 Tips for Safer Holiday Shopping

This Holiday season will provide the usual boom period for retailers and security personnel alike. As anyone in the industry will tell you, it also brings added security risks. Thieves are particularly active at this time of year. Packed aisles and long lineups provide the perfect cover for theft, while tired staff are often too busy to keep their usual vigilant watch.

While stores are beginning to get busier, there’s still time to take stock and ensure you have a strong security plan in place to deter thieves. Here are five simple tips to follow for keeping retail stores and shopping malls secure this Christmas.

Car Park Security

As security staff, our usual concern is what’s going on inside the store. Thieves aren’t stupid. They know this and have pivoted to target less secure venues such as the car park. These often dark, often poorly monitored spaces are ripe for theft. When allocating security staff this holiday, ensure regular patrols of the cark park are carried out. The mere physical presence of security staff acts as a powerful deterrent to thieves.

Assign Security as a Door Greeter

Criminals like to operate quietly. They don’t like to be watched, and they certainly don’t like being watched by security staff. Assign a member of your team as a door greeter. This ensures every customer who enters the store is seen and is assured your store is a well secured premises. These staff should be aware of any problem individuals that may present themselves at the storefront. Email or print out pictures of these people in advance and distribute them to any relevant members of your team.

Monitor Fitting Rooms

Yes, it’s one of the oldest tricks in the book but fitting rooms remain a vulnerable point in any store’s security plan. Even if thieves can’t steal items here, they will often switch price tags or try to wear stolen clothing underneath the items they entered with. It’s worth keeping a vigilant member of your team here at all times. Examine each item before it goes into the change room and do an audit when the customer comes out. If done discreetly, the customer won’t even realize.

Be Aware of Peak Crime Periods

Criminals have been at this for years. They know the weak points and they understand when the best time to strike is. There are certain parts of the day thieves love and these coincide with when staff numbers are at their lowest. Instruct your team to be particularly vigilant early in the morning, at lunchtime and just before closing. Thieves see these as windows of opportunity when staff are short in numbers or distracted by daily tasks.

Respond to Suspicious Individuals

Security staff walk a tightrope. Even if they suspect someone is engaging in theft, they have to be extremely careful in how they approach the individual. After all, you don’t want to accuse an innocent person, or act too quickly with no evidence. So, what is the best approach for responding to suspicious individuals? Instruct your team to approach the individual in question and ask them if everything is ok. Let them know they’ll be close by if needed and then walk away to monitor from a distance. If the person is a regular customer, they’ll feel reassured. If they’re engaging in theft they’ll likely be scared off and will leave the store.

Let Blackbird Security Help

Need assistance with your retail security? Blackbird Security are Western Canada’s retail security specialists. Contact us and we will be happy to help.

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