Retail Security at Christmas

Christmas is the busiest time of the year for many retailers, but have you also considered that it is a hectic time for thieves and criminals too?

protect your retail business at christmas

The main reason why Christmas is a big target when it comes to crimes against retailers is due to the increased number of customers in stores.  This creates a perfect environment for thieves to operate, given staff are less able to keep a close eye on every customer that walk into the store, as well as the transactions that take place at the cash register.  The examples of risks that retailers should consider and manage include:

  • increased cash on site due to more sales;
  • increased stock loss due to theft;
  • higher number of people using counterfeit notes;
  • more people using fake or stolen credit cards; and
  • the risks for staff as well as customers from late night trading.

So what can you do to make your store safe and secure during the festive period?  There are in fact a number of measures you can take which are not costly to implement.

Firstly, make sure the visibility within your store is not compromised due to having unusually large volumes of stock being piled up.  You need to give your staff the best chance to see who is in the store, where they are and potentially what they are doing.  Check and reposition security mirrors if necessary so customers become visible to your staff.  Also, positioning expensive items close to cash registers where they can be seen will help staff to monitor them more closely.

Lighting would obviously play a part in helping visibility within the store, but you should also ensure car parks outside the store are well lit given the extended trading hours.  This will reduce unwanted behaviour anywhere near your premises and enhance security for your staff as well as customers.

Meet and greet your customers when they walk in as this shows you are aware of their presence.  In order to do this, you will need to have an adequate number of staff on the shop floor at all times – many shops hire Christmas temps to cover demand. This is a good idea, and won’t leave you overwhelmed with custom.

Theft, break-ins and vandalism often occur when the store is closed, and this is especially the case around the Christmas period, when there is an increased likelihood of alcohol fueled crimes at night.  Therefore, you must make sure all entrances and windows are securely locked.  Installing industrial grade roller shutters is a fantastic way to prevent actual break-ins and deter would be criminals.  Other types of doors you may wish to consider include steel hinged doors and sectional overhead doors.  Choose industrial grade doors because these are more effective, harder wearing and can be tailored to suit individual entrances to provide maximum security.

CCTV is a popular method of crime prevention also, and if the worst should happen you have a better chance of tracing any individuals who played a part in the incident.

Christmas should be an exciting and enjoyable time within retail environments – don’t let crime spoil things when in many cases, it can be easily prevented.

UK Business Crime Prevention

Studies suggest that criminal offences against businesses could account for a staggering 20% of all recorded criminal acts in the UK. Criminals are committing premeditated robberies with meticulous planning every day, so it is imperative that business owners take precautions to avoid falling foul of these predators.

When considering methods to protect your business from criminal offences, you will need to look at your business through the eyes of a criminal. Carry out a detailed risk assessment of your business site, are there any weak spots in the building such as a window that does not shut correctly or a damaged panel or door? Criminals will study your site carefully to identify any vulnerable areas and once found they will act quickly.

Securing your premises may seem like an obvious requirement, however many buildings are not as secure as you might think. Consider the age of your windows and doors, are they in good working order? Do they show signs of wear and tear or have significant damage to them? Are the locks heavy duty and in full working order? Your door is not only the gateway through which your customers enter and leave, but it also provides access to the more unsavoury visitor and by having an old, weakened or damaged door you are risking the safety of your employees and your stock. A correctly fitted, heavy duty industrial security door with automatic locking system and strengthened UPVC double glazed windows are the ideal solution to provide maximum security for you and your business.

Don’t forget, any security doors need regular maintenance, and if repairs are needed these should be carried out asap not only to prevent crime, but to prevent serious accident and injury also.

You may also consider fitting an alarm system or updating your existing one if it is more than 10 years old. Alarms deter criminals who are looking to get in and out as quickly as possible with minimal fuss and effort and offer peace of mind to you as the business owner. Depending on the size and purpose, it could be worth installing rolling steel shutters or grills that will cover and protect your windows and doors, especially for businesses on busy high streets in towns or cities.

Staff safety is of utmost importance, and all employees should know the protocol to follow should a criminal offence or threat to their personal safety arise. Security training and self-defence classes can prove to be invaluable tools to employees who work alone in an isolated area.

Keep as little cash on site as possible and publicise this fact. Thieves are looking to get as much as possible as quickly as possible, so if you ensure that no cash and limited stock or power tools are readily available then criminals will be reluctant to target your business. If you do have to store equipment or large amounts of stock on site, please ensure that audits and stock takes are completed on a regular basis and ensure that all equipment is tagged with individual serial numbers that can be easily traced in the event of a robbery. Lastly, review and update your security measures and passwords regularly. Thieves are creatures of habit, and they will try to access your business again in the future so make sure you are always one step ahead of them so that they cannot figure out your tracks.