Techniques & Security Technology to Deter Shoplifters

Picture of a security camera as part of a retail security system - blurry background showing the interior of a store.

Proper Employee Training

Many shoplifters exhibit suspicious tell-tale behaviors when they’re planning to steal goods. Teaching your employees to keep an eye out for these behaviors can help prevent shoplifting or stop shoplifters in the act. Some behaviors common among shoplifters include:

  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Looking over their shoulder frequently or scanning around the store
  • Continually wandering aimlessly throughout the store
  • Nervousness – fidgeting, etc.
  • Coming into the store often without buying (or making very small purchases)
  • Wearing overly baggy clothes

It’s important to pay attention to behavior, because it’s been proven that there’s no standard profile when it comes to who is most likely to shoplift—so it’s impossible to accurately guess whether or not a person intends to steal solely by appearance or demographics.

Additionally, while identifying a potential shoplifter is important, it’s also important to have policies in place that help deescalate the situation while ensuring everyone involved stays safe. Some key questions to outline and consider when creating your shoplifting protocol:

  • How should your employees approach potential shoplifters?
  • How many employees should be involved?
  • When should the police be called? Who should handle the call?
  • What do you do if the suspected shoplifter runs? (Hint: chasing is an unsafe choice)

That list of questions is not comprehensive, but should help get you going in the right direction.

Simple Actions to Take to Help Reduce Shoplifting

Keep Your Store Clean

Unorganized stores with items strewn about are easier to steal from—if you and your employees aren’t sure what items go where, what’s been popular and what hasn’t been selling, it’s easy to lose track of items.

Utilize Smaller Displays

Keep your fixtures and displays lower and shorter for maximum visibility. Long aisles are common in many stores, but if you currently utilize them in your store you may wish to consider shortening their length, which makes it easier to keep an eye on visitors while they walk around. Similarly, taller displays may allow for more inventory, but they block visibility which can present more opportunities for thieves.

Install More Mirrors

Strategically-placed mirrors can help eliminate blind spots around corners, and they can reduce the sense of security shoplifters have around the store—reducing the chances of them attempting to steal.

Prominently Display Signs

Signs are cheap and can serve as a solid deterrent to would-be shoplifters. The purpose of these signs is not to intimidate your buyers, but to ward off thieves—so make sure they aren’t overtly threatening and match your brand and tone. Consider adding images of eyes to the signs, which help double their effectiveness.

Consider Adding More Staff

While more employees costs more money, an extra pair of eyes can make a large difference when it comes to reducing theft. If you only have a few employees and they’re all busy assisting customers, stocking, or cleaning, it’s easy for shoplifters to take what they want and make a clean getaway.

CCTV: One of the Best Tools to Prevent Shoplifting

All of the above tips should be implemented if possible, but one solution that can be cost-effective and very effective is having a CCTV video surveillance system installed. Having cameras up across your store is a very powerful deterrent—especially when used in conjunction with signs as outlined above (placed near the cameras for extra emphasis).

Not only can strategically placed cameras deter would-be thieves, they can also catch bolder shoplifters in the act, with video evidence that you can use to protect your company.

If you’re looking for a CCTV surveillance system for your store in the East Texas area, be sure to reach out to 3D Security, Inc. to discuss your needs. We’ve helped stores of all types and sizes secure their assets and protect their property for over 30 years, and we’d love to help you secure your business next.