How to protect your stock from shoplifters


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How to protect your stock from shoplifters

In 2011, retail theft cost the Australian economy more than $2 billion.

In 2011, shoplifting made up 70% of retail crime in Australia and retail theft cost the Australian economy more than $2 billioni. Shoplifting leads to an unexpected increase in product costs (costs of goods sold), reducing a retail business' gross profit.

In Australia, the top five stolen items are lipsticks, shaving products, fragrances, infant formula and clothingi. To protect stock from thieves and dishonest staff, retail business owners need to take out stringent security measures, including anti-theft devices such as security tags that set off an alarm when leaving the store.

Identify signs of shoplifting

Research shows that females are more likely to be apprehended for retail theft than males, and that adolescents are more often involved in shoplifting than other age groupsii. However, the best way to identify a shoplifter is by their behaviour. According to the NSW Department of Attorney General and Justice, a shoplifter often

Best practices to prevent shoplifting

The NSW Department of Attorney General and Justice's Retail Security Resource report (2012) recommends a range of tips and best practices to reduce shoplifting in retail stores, including the following:

Security cameras can help to scare off shoplifters, but reduce the likeliness of staff engaging in basic theft prevention measures.

Clearly visible security cameras can also be an effective way to scare off shoplifters. However, studies have found that the introduction of CCTV (closed-circuit television) cameras or security guards made staff less likely to engage in basic theft prevention measures as outlined aboveiii. Therefore, you should encourage your employees to stay engaged and alert, even when additional security measures are in place.

Employee theft

In 2010 Australia recorded the second highest levels of employee theft in the worldi, and more than 40% of all retail theft is committed by staffi.

Creating a positive work environment is an important step to reduce the likelihood of employee theft or fraud, as it can make the employee act in the best interest of the business. Also make sure to educate your employees about the severity and business damage of retail theft, and inform them of your policies and procedures relating to fraud prevention strategies. Moreover, pre-employment background checks can help you avoid hiring dishonest employees from the beginning v ~.


~We do not provide advice on this insurance based on any consideration of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Policy terms, conditions, limits and exclusions apply. Before making a decision please consider our product disclosure statement. View PDS update (privacy notice).

i NSW Department of Attorney General and Justice, 2012, Retail Security Resource, http://www.crimeprevention.nsw.gov.au/agdbasev7wr/_assets/cpd/m660001l2/retail_security_resource_web_160212.pdf, p.4

ii Australian Institute of Criminology, Stealing from retail stores, http://www.aic.gov.au/publications/current%20series/rpp/100-120/rpp120/14_retail.html

iii NSW Department of Attorney General and Justice, 2012, Retail Security Resource, http://www.crimeprevention.nsw.gov.au/agdbasev7wr/_assets/cpd/m660001l2/retail_security_resource_web_160212.pdf, p.8

iv NSW Department of Attorney General and Justice, 2012, Retail Security Resource, http://www.crimeprevention.nsw.gov.au/agdbasev7wr/_assets/cpd/m660001l2/retail_security_resource_web_160212.pdf, p.10

v NSW Department of Attorney General and Justice, 2012, Retail Security Resource, http://www.crimeprevention.nsw.gov.au/agdbasev7wr/_assets/cpd/m660001l2/retail_security_resource_web_160212.pdf, p.15