11 Ways to Make Retail Crime More Difficult

Prevent retail crime
cracked window glass with a blurred shop as a background

Retail crime is about percentages; as a shop owner, are the odds in your favour? The more security measures you put in place, the harder it is for criminals to target your business. For those that don’t, the chance of money, cigarettes, or other high-value stock being stolen increases.

Criminals will do what they can to tip the percentage in their favour. For example, many robberies are carried out first thing in the morning or last thing at night because there are potentially fewer customers to deal with or fewer staff on duty.

Retail crime has always been and will always be an issue; it never goes away. At The Retail Mutual, we want to make it as difficult as possible for criminals to succeed and help minimise the impact of crime on retailers. This is why we highlight the importance of having the right cover in place and share ideas with you to help tip the scales in your favour:

1 – CCTV

Make sure you have high-quality, working security cameras in place not just inside your business premises but outside as well. This may sound obvious, but it’s surprising just how many shop owners have cameras in place, but which are broken, switched off or not recording. CCTV is not only a deterrent but also helps the police by capturing vital evidence of a retail crime.

Stop Retail Crime

2 – Alarms

Having an extremely loud, high-pitched alarm may not necessarily stop a criminal from forcing entry into your business premises, but it can reduce the amount of time they spend in there, and it could just be enough to make them think twice about targeting your store. On average, it takes criminals less than four minutes to complete a successful smash and grab style robbery, and it has been known for them to make it in and out of a business in half that time, stealing thousands of pounds’ worth of stock in the process. 

3 – Signage

Place signs around your shop to inform people that you have CCTV and an alarm system in place. This could be enough of a deterrent to stop somebody from shoplifting or carrying out other criminal acts.

4 – Roller shutters and bollards

Roller shutters can help with protecting your shop front from vandals and slow down criminals trying to gain entry to your premises. Bollards in front of a shop also help to stop ram raiders from ploughing into your premises to gain access.

5 – Extra lighting

Lighting can be important to help illuminate poorly lit areas of your shop, which increases visibility and could deter shoplifters. The same can be said for outside your shop too; criminals will work under the cover of darkness to increase their chances of not being seen or recognised.

6 – Keep high-value stock locked away

High-value stock should not be left on display in shop windows overnight and should be kept locked in a secure room when not in use. Keep high-value stock in lockable display cabinets on the shop floor to make it more difficult for thieves to access.

7 – Start a neighbourhood business watch

Team up with other business owners in your local area to share and report on criminal activity that could affect your business and the wider community. Messaging apps like WhatsApp can make it easier to share information quickly and efficiently.  

8 – Work with staff to be prepared for retail crime

Work with and train staff to help them deal with retail crime; this could help them spot suspicious activity or stay calm if they are confronted. Remind them not to be a hero and to comply with whatever they are told to do. It’s important not to increase the tension in these situations, but what staff can do is take mental notes so that if they are involved in a robbery, they can remember details such as how tall the thieves were, the colour of their hair or if they had any distinctive features like scars or tattoos. All this information is vital for the police.

9 – Keep the outside of your business clean and tidy

Keeping bin areas tidy, locked away or at least three metres away from your business premises will help to reduce the chances of an arsonist using them to start a fire, which could easily spread to your building.

Trim any hedges or bushes that could obscure the front of your shop or reduce visibility for CCTV cameras or staff. Keep the front and back of your shop looking clean and respectable to discourage loitering or other criminal activity.  

10 – Fog or smoke machines

These machines automatically fill a room with smoke or fog if somebody enters when they are activated. These machines reduce visibility, slowing criminals down and making it more difficult for them to find what they are looking for.

11 – Keep it locked

Be sure to keep stock rooms, backdoors and windows locked at all times when not in use. Use high-quality locks and never leave keys on your premises overnight.  

Try implementing some, if not all, of the suggestions above to help deter criminals from targeting your business premises. At The Retail Mutual, we know the devastating impact theft, robbery and criminal damage can cause you and your business.  To find out more or to receive a quote call 0333 3446 078 or alternatively visit our website

Contributor: The Retail Mutual