Retailers have always struggled with shoplifting, but things have gotten worse in recent years. Criminals are becoming more organized and, in some cases, more violent.
This isn’t just bad for your bottom line. It can have a disastrous effect on morale at a time when staff levels are precariously low. With the Holiday season looming, stores need to act now to protect themselves and their associates. This is where we can help.
Our headsets keep everyone in contact at all times. This lets you present a united front, deterring violent behavior and giving security associates the edge over thieves. Here’s how it works.
A 100 billion dollar problem
There was a time when shoplifting was sporadic and disorganized- a crime of opportunity committed by desperate individuals. This is no longer the case. Shoplifting has become a cornerstone of organized crime. Modern criminals are highly trained and operate in teams, leading to devastating losses across the country:
- Organized retail crime increased by 26% last year
- US retailers now lose $95 billion a year to shoplifters- 1.5% of their total revenue
- External theft accounts for 37% of all retail shrink
- The most commonly stolen items are clothing, electronics and beauty products, which are often resold through online marketplaces
These numbers only paint part of the picture. In many stores, there is a growing feeling that the situation has spiraled out of control. Only one in 48 shoplifters are arrested, and even fewer are prosecuted. Speaking to the New York Times, a Safeway clerk from Denver sums up the frustration in the industry:
“If an employee gets caught stealing a candy bar, they get fired. But you have shoplifters who come in here and steal a whole buggy full of Tide.”
Not a victimless crime
This leniency towards shoplifters can be attributed to a widespread misconception- the idea that shoplifting doesn’t really hurt anyone. This couldn’t be further from the truth. When businesses lose money to criminals, it is ultimately their associates who suffer:
- An estimated 680,000 jobs have been cut as a result of shoplifting losses
- Wages have been reduced by over $39 billion to compensate for the effects of theft
- $15 billion of tax revenue has been lost to retail crime, increasing the tax burden on the average citizen
This harm isn’t just financial. Shoplifting incidents are often a trigger for verbal and physical abuse, leaving associates afraid to go to work:
- Over 80% of retailers have have experienced an increase in violence and aggression linked to shoplifting
- 90% of associates have suffered verbal abuse at work
- Assaults in grocery stores increased by 63% between 2018 and 2020
With 1.8 million retail vacancies, and up to 20% of remaining associates planning to quit, this is a problem that can’t be ignored. A wave of resignations before the Holiday season would be disastrous, so it’s vital to make associates feel safe and supported. We can’t stop crime altogether, but we can make sure that nobody has to face down criminals alone.
Safety in numbers
Tackling organized crime is a job for the police. Our job is to keep associates out of harm’s way in the meantime. Our Series 5 Pro headset allows crystal clear communication across even the largest stores, ensuring that help and support are always at hand.
- Headsets allow associates to communicate at all times. If someone witnesses a shoplifting incident, they can warn the security team immediately. This is far more discreet than a PA announcement, allowing associates to raise the alarm without tipping off criminals
- Headsets act as a visible deterrent to shoplifters by making it clear that associates are in contact with security personnel.
- Headsets can be integrated with your telephone system. This allows associates to call the police from anywhere in store, rather than having to walk to the nearest landline.
- Our API lets you integrate headsets with smart CCTV cameras, allowing them to send automated alerts whenever they spot suspicious behavior.
- Our message cast feature lets head office send messages to multiple stores at once. If thieves are operating in a certain area, all local stores can be warned immediately.
This makes a huge difference, both practically and psychologically. Associates can rest assured they’ll never have to face a dangerous situation alone, and this makes them feel 54% safer overall. Give us a call and arrange a free demonstration today.