Retail Crime in the Age of COVID-19

At Blackbird Security, we’re honored to partner with many national retailers such as Rexall, Sephora, H&M, Canadian Tire, Sobeys and Best Buy to meet their security and loss prevention needs. We provide security services in many Canadian markets such as Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Regina and many more. During the pandemic, the roles of our security guards within retail and grocery stores have changed. Not only are they fulfilling their normal role of minimizing loss prevention, they’re also ensuring stellar customer service and adherence to COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

The Changing Face of Retail Crime During COVID-19

In the last 12 months, so much of our world has changed. Unfortunately, crime is one of those changes. Our staff in the field have reported different types of crimes, happening at different times of the day. Fact is, most people are stressed, and this is leading to more violent and random crimes than the usual crimes of opportunity one would expect in a retail setting.

With this in mind, we were fascinated by the findings released in the recent CAP Index Crime Trend Study for the Retail Industry. This respected study provided an analysis of over 240,000 address-specific crimes reported at retail locations throughout major US cities from 2018-2020. The results provide an extremely useful illustration of how COVID-19 impacted on retail crime compared to previous years. Let’s take a look at the findings.

The Overall Picture on Retail Crime

Overall, shoplifting, fraud and other theft categories showed a substantial decline in 2020. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, many people both here in Canada, and in the United States, spent part (or most) of 2020 in some form of lockdown.

A figure that immediately jumps off the page is the 100% increase in burglaries, alongside most changes to assaults.

Trends in Shoplifting 

While 2020 showed a modest decline in shoplifting figures, the data merits further discussion as it’s the most relevant to our industry, and the clients we serve.

On the right, you’ll see a breakdown of the days of the week when shoplifting occurred from 2018-2020. As you can see, it’s a pretty even spread lead slightly by the early portion of the week. There’s no single day of the week in which it’s advisable to focus loss prevention efforts. Instead, the whole week should be treated with equal importance.  

Time of Day and Impact on Crime

It’s often said crime doesn’t sleep, but shoplifting data highlights the vast majority of activity happens during traditional work hours. In fact, 50 per cent of all shoplifting occurs between the hours of 12pm and 6pm. When you’re making a decision on where to focus your loss prevention and retail security guards, it makes sense to prioritize these busy times of the day. For quieter periods, a service like Blackbird Security’s Mobile Patrol offers 24-hour coverage without breaking the bank.

Find Out More

Ready to discuss your retail security needs and improve your loss prevention efforts? If you have any questions about our professional security services, or how Blackbird Security can help protect your business don’t hesitate to contact us.

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