Physical security constitutes 90 percent of loss prevention. If your place of business is locked and unauthorized entry is made difficult, time consuming and conspicuous, chances of a successful burglary are minimized. Lighting, alarm systems, secure locks and other deterrents can all deter potential thieves.
The following recommendations could help prevent theft at your business:
The harder it is to get inside your store or building, the less likely a burglar will try.
- Locks on all outside entrances and inside security doors should be double-cylinder deadbolts with movable collars. They should be recessed into the door and should have at least a one-inch throw containing a hardened steel insert protected by a latch guard.
- Padlocks should be made of hardened steel and mounted on bolted hasps. Keep them locked to prevent exchange. File off serial numbers to prevent new keys being made.
- Entry doors should be of solid construction, metal lined, and secured with heavy metal crossbars.
- Door jams must be solid. Exposed hinges should be pinned to prevent removal.
- Windows should have secure locks and burglar-resistant glass. If necessary, use heavy metal grates on all windows, with the exception of display windows.
Having a well-lit exterior with minimal obstructions (tall shrubs, trashcans, etc.) can help deter potential thieves. A clear line of sight into the business from the road will make it easier to spot a break-in after hours.
- Keep display windows clear of expensive items.
- Lights must provide optimum visibility inside and out of the business. Install vandal-proof covers over the outside lights and power source.
- The cash register should be in plain view from outside the store so it can be easily monitored.
- Safes should be fireproof, burglar resistant, anchored securely and in plain view. Leave them open when empty and use them to lock up valuables when the business is closed.
- Landscaping, boxes and trash bins near the building can give a criminal cover or access to the roof.
- Check your building exterior (roof, cellar, walls, etc.) and secure all openings larger than 12’ x 12’.
- Perimeter fences should keep intruders out and allow good visibility of your business by neighbors and police. Alarms on fences can give you additional protection. Guard dogs inside fences are also effective in deterring unauthorized entry.
- Keep accurate records of serial numbers on all items to help in recovery.
- Anchor all equipment/merchandise to a secure base to delay the efforts of a burglar.
- Change combinations when anyone with safe access leaves your employment.
- Alarm systems should be from a licensed alarm company with a central monitoring station. Check the system on a daily basis. Advertise its presence to deter break-ins.
- A closing security check should include the entire interior of your business so you do not lock an aspiring burglar inside. Check the exterior to make sure that there have been no security breaches.
Remove the Opportunity
Employee awareness of customers – Customers should be personally greeted as they enter the store. An exchange of pleasantries serves to remove the shoplifter's cloak of anonymity, while increasing customer goodwill. Shoplifters avoid stores with friendly, attentive sales people.
Training – Special shoplifting prevention training for both old and new continuing employees will guarantee that all salespeople are aware of the shoplifting problem and know what steps to take should they see a shoplifter.
Prosecution – Adopt a clear, evenly enforced shoplifting policy. Post this policy to make sure that both staff and customers are aware of it.
Adequate sales staff – Hire enough sales clerks to guarantee effective coverage and personal attention to customers. Breaks and lunch hours should be staggered.
Store layout – Shelves and displays should be low for good visibility. Lighting should be adequate so that the sense of privacy is removed. High value and small item displays are ideally located near a cash register. Aisles, which can be viewed from the register, provide few opportunities to shoplifters.
A neat store – A messy store lets the shoplifter know that the store management is inattentive. Empty hangers should be removed, depleted displays refilled, discarded sales receipts picked up, price-marking materials kept off the floor and fitting rooms kept clean.