Shoplifting can cost your business thousands of dollars each year. Shoplifters may be any age, gender, or economic or ethnic background. There is no "typical" shoplifter. They often work in pairs or groups to divert the clerk's attention while they steal. They often operate when employees are apt to be less alert, e.g., at store opening and closing times, during the lunch and dinner times, and during shift changes. Shoplifters also learn to take advantage of crowded stores during peak hours. Effective prevention begins with an aware and alert staff.

Stopping a Shoplifter

If you suspect that someone may be considering lifting something, approach the person and ask "Can I help you?" or "Can I ring that up for you?" If you suspect someone has lifted and concealed something, keep him or her in sight and notify a manager or security personnel immediately. If you are working alone, request the assistance of another worker. Plan a "buddy system" for your own safety and as a witness.

If someone leaves your store without paying for an item, have an employee follow the suspect and get a good description of him or her and any vehicle used, and call 911 to report the crime. Do not have your employee attempt to detain the suspect unless he or she has been trained in apprehension and arrest procedures.

  1. Protective Measures
  2. Display Strategies
  3. Fitting Rooms
  4. Ticket Switching
  5. Anti-Theft Devices
  6. Education
  7. Supervisors

Protective Measures

  • Make the shoplifters feel watched. Elevate the cashier's platform. Install mirrors that enable cashiers and sales people to see over and around displays. Install one-way glass in offices to enable employees to see into the store without being seen from the floor.
  • Install surveillance cameras to cover cash registers, high-value merchandise displays, entrances, loading docks, etc. Use software that can be programmed to create an alarm when suspicious activity occurs. Mount monitors showing live video at main entrances to let shoppers know that they will be under surveillance in the store.
  • Post signs warning against shoplifting. Emphasize that you will prosecute. The best way to discourage shoplifters and keep your business from being tagged as an easy mark is to take a get - tough attitude and prosecute on the first offense.
  • Encourage checking parcels on entry.
  • Require receipts for merchandise returns for cash. Require a photo ID and signature for returns without a receipt. And then just give merchandise-only vouchers.
  • Take an inventory of returned merchandise against receipts on a regular basis to catch false returns, i.e., ones without returned merchandise.