A 2015 report by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) found that shoplifting, cybercrime and fraud are at the highest level since records began in 2004. Shoplifting now accounts for 75% of all recorded crime in the UK - an 18% increase on last year, with an annual bill exceeding £600m.
Shoplifting isn’t the only threat, violence against staff is also thought to be rising. In 2014 33% of shop workers were threatened by customers and over half were verbally abused. These high levels of criminal activity have a huge impact on businesses. Helen Dickinson, BRC Director General was quoted as saying “retailers need help and support to respond to the threat”.
With the BRC suggesting that many retailers have lost faith in police (only one in 10 shop thefts were reported last year) who can storeowners rely one to keep their people, stock and premises secure?
Many retailers turn to private security companies for support when combating crime. Service providers like Cordant Security work closely with the police and are part of retailers against crime; a partnership between members who share information to reduce crime in their local area.
Exciting new technologies are also on the horizon which could completely turn retail crime on its head. Security systems will now automatically recognise and identify individual's faces if they are on an online system of known criminals. The system will then notify a security officer that a known criminal has entered their store.
Other technologies include customer tracking which can recognise certain ‘shoplifting stances’ which can then be referred to by an officer for evidence.
These systems aren’t limited to security. They can be used to track customer footfall allowing retailers to plan their staffing levels much more efficiently or identify consumer hotspots to plan and design stores more efficiently.