Retail crime continues to increase year on year — and it’s becoming much more violent. That’s why it’s essential retailers invest in a complete security solution that deters, detects and delays criminal activity.
Organised retail crime is a particular concern, which is why we’re taking a closer look at what it is and any methods you can implement to prevent its occurrence.
- What is organised retail crime?
- What common trends have we seen over the past year?
- Prevention methods
What is organised retail crime?
Organised retail crime involves two or more people illegally obtaining a substantial amount of retail merchandise. This can be through theft or fraud as part of a fraudulent commercial enterprise. The key objective of organised retail crime is to steal from retailers for financial gain, rather than personal use of the stolen items.
These criminals then turn to online or illegal marketplaces to discreetly and quickly move mass amounts of stolen goods.
What common trends have we seen over the past year?
In total, there were 17% more incidents of theft and damage in 2020. According to the BRC’s latest Retail Crime Survey, the total cost to retailers of crime and crime prevention was £2.5 billion — an increase of 14% compared to the previous year.
The survey also shows the following:
- 7% rise in incidents of violence and abuse against shopworkers (455 each day)
- Only 6% of incidents of violence and abuse result in prosecution
- £935 million was lost to customer theft
As a result of the increase in retail crime, it’s now more important than ever for retailers to have appropriate security measures in place. This includes CCTV, access control and partnerships with law enforcement. In some extreme cases, tactical teams might also be required if organised crime groups ever target retail businesses during mass gatherings, such as protests.
Physical security measures such as security guards should also be implemented to reduce the chances of theft and violence against staff.
Mobile patrols help deter and detect criminal activity.
Traditional security solutions require personnel on-site at all times, but with mobile patrols, a tailored service is created, where trained security guards visit the premises at selected times during the day and night. This could be at random times or pre-scheduled times.
Keyholding involves a specialist security professional holding an extra pair of keys to your premises. They’ll be responsible for responding to any security issues, monitor your premises while also attending to any problems that could occur at the property, such as an intruder or false alarm.
With a security guard on-site, criminals will be deterred from committing a crime on your site. A security presence will also mean you always have the necessary resources to ensure security concerns are addressed as and when they occur before they can escalate into larger problems. It also creates a sense of a safer working environment.
Some also have partnerships with law enforcement authorities to offer your retail business an added layer of security.
Video surveillance in the form of a CCTV control room brings together footage from systems you have in place, all managed and monitored by professional security guards. It's their job to ensure the premises remains safe 24/7, 365 days a year. With multiple guards on duty, all of whom have the skills and experience to keep the premises safe, they can ensure continued vigilance to reduce the risk of organised retail crime.
Without a robust security system in place, your site is vulnerable to theft, burglary and vandalism. To learn how to assess your site for any vulnerabilities, take a look at our latest site security guide below.
How secure is your site?
To ensure your site is properly protected, conducting a threat assessment and risk analysis is vital. In our guide, we’ll walk you through exactly what a risk assessment is and how to conduct one yourself. We’ve also provided a helpful security checklist at the end so you won’t miss any important considerations.