The eagle-eyed amongst you may have spotted one of our products being featured on Channel 5 show It Takes A Thief To Catch A Thief.
As part of the show, master thief Richard Taylor visited a garden centre in Biggleswade, which was constantly targeted by shoplifters. The net loss to the business in 2013 was approximately £2,000 worth of stock and the team had never been successful in catching a shoplifter.
After demonstrating how easy it was to simply walk out of the garden centre with a basket of stock, PC Will Davies was drafted in to lend the team a much-needed hand. Will introduced a series of new security measures, including our own Tensator Automatic Gate with breakout alarm, which is part of our Access Control range.
The Automatic Gate is designed to be the first line of defence for retailers when it comes to preventing ‘push-outs’, where thieves quite literally push a trolley full of goods straight out of the door, and ‘walk-outs’, a technique that either sees items carried out in a basket or concealed in the person’s clothing. If the gate is forced, then an alarm will sound, instantly alerting staff.
We were pleased to hear that since the new measures were introduced, theft from the garden centre has fallen dramatically and the team has successfully apprehended five shoplifters.
Sadly, the garden centre in question is not alone when it comes to suffering the plight of retail theft.
The latest Retail Crime Survey from the British Retail Consortium shows that customer theft is at its highest rate for nine years, with the average value per incident sitting at £177. According to the survey, the total cost of retail crime, of which customer theft plays a major part, has soared to a staggering £1.6 billion.
It would seem that this is one problem that is not about to go away any time soon and retailers need to be constantly reviewing their own security procedures in order to minimise loss.
We have already discussed how Automatic Gates act as an effective deterrent when it comes to both push-outs and walk-outs. Similarly, a checkout-mounted Tensabarrier® can stop an unused supermarket checkout providing an easy exit route for a thief.
Customer theft aided by employees should also be an area of concern for retailers.
One of the most common forms of employee aided customer theft is known as ‘sweethearting’. It involves customers ensuring that they are served by a member of staff who is known to them. They then scan the low-value items, or just one item of a multiple purchase, in order for their acquaintance to receive higher-value goods at a discounted rate, or even for free.
CCTV cameras and even video ‘behaviour recognition’ software can both help to combat this, but another simple solution is to switch from a multiple queuing structure to single-line queuing.
By introducing a single-line queuing formation, retailers are basically removing the option for the customer to select who serves them. They are simply called forward to the next available service point, dramatically reducing the chance of ‘sweethearting’ taking place.
As It Takes A Thief To Catch A Thief illustrates, all retailers are potential targets for criminals. However, those that are taking a proactive approach are the ones that are winning the battle against the shoplifters.
You can view more of our solutions for the retail sector, including our full Access Control range, here.