News • 25.11.2022

Best practices to help retailers fight crime this holiday season

Interface Systems highlights prevention strategies for protecting employees and premises while reducing retail shrink

As retailers get ready for a busy holiday shopping season, they also have to prepare for an increased risk of theft and violence against employees. Interface Systems shares insights and best practices to mitigate holiday season retail crime and aggression.

Interior view of a shopping centre with Christmas decorations...
Source: Interface Systems

According to the National Retail Federation’s 2022 retail security survey, 52.9% of retailers reported that external theft, and Organized Retail Crime (ORC) in particular, increased by 26.5% since 2021.

"ORC increases during the holidays because there is more opportunity. The stores are open longer hours, they are more crowded, employees are extremely busy, and there is more inventory in the store. What should be "the most wonderful time of the year" for both shoppers and retailers, is becoming increasingly stressful due to an increased risk of theft and violence against employees. Technology solutions can offer effective deterrents for retailers who face security risks every day", said Sean Foley, SVP of Customer Success at Interface Systems.

Leverage Virtual Security Guards to protect premises without affecting shopper experience

Retailers can rely on remote security professionals who can use security cameras, speakers, and microphones installed at the stores to offer discreet, always-on surveillance without degrading the shopper experience. These services allow trained security professionals to identify threats such as argumentative customers, loiterers in the perimeter of the store, or those about to commit theft, and issue an immediate audio warning or call law enforcement. 

Utilize AI-enabled cameras to proactively identify threats

Motion-triggered cameras with AI capabilities can become the first line of defense to proactively identify threats. When deployed in conjunction with a speaker and lighting system, the solution can automatically warn loiterers during non-business hours. They can be programmed to play different audio messages based on the context or even alert a remote security professional who can access the scene via live video camera feeds. This is especially useful in parking lots and loading areas.

Integrate video, alarms, and POS systems

One of the easiest ways for retailers to get a return on their security investment is to integrate video surveillance with a point-of-sale (POS) solution. Running exception reports on transactions mapped to video recordings allows retailers to easily find instances of theft such as coupon fraud, refunds made in the absence of customers, sweethearting, and unauthorized price overrides.

Empower and train employees

It is expected that retailers will hire between 450,000 and 600,000 seasonal workers this holiday season. The current climate of active assailants and gun violence adds to retailers' concerns about being able to keep employees and customers safe. In fact, eight in 10 retailers surveyed in this year’s NRF report indicated that the violence and aggression associated with ORC incidents increased in the past year.

Putting in place a robust training and communications program is a crucial step in ensuring the safety of employees and customers. All new hires including seasonal employees and existing employees should be made aware of safety and incident response procedures through a combination of training programs, role-plays, and drills. Most importantly, the program should include a synopsis of the security technologies deployed and an emergency communication plan that all employees should know how to utilize.

"Retailers need a comprehensive safety program to prepare and protect their associates from a variety of dangerous situations. When employees know that their safety is the priority, it creates peace of mind and can boost morale and productivity", said Tyson Johns, SVP of Security Monitoring Operations at Interface Systems.

Source: Interface Systems

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