7 Crime Prevention Strategies Every Retailer Should Follow
Developing a store security strategy for a retail operation with multiple locations involves far more than taking the plan for one store and applying it to all the rest. Each location presents specific risks and opportunities, and managing retail loss prevention should reflect that.
To avoid wasting your security budget, you need to deploy your resources where they are actually needed, and not where your gut tells you they’re needed. To do that, retail security best practices call for developing a scalable, sustainable, and holistic plan for all locations.
7 Essential Crime Prevention Strategies
Take these best practices into account as you develop your store security strategy:
- Use an objective risk matrix for each of your locations to be sure you’re allocating security resources where they are most needed. Security should not be one-size-fits-all; instead, resources should be tailored to risk.
- Survey your locations routinely. Make sure that the designated security equipment, consistent with your risk level guidelines, is in good working order. Also, ascertain that all security-related policies and procedures are being adhered to at the location. Pay special attention to the stores in areas with elevated risk and/or heightened loss experience.
- Track criminal events as they occur and document your company’s response. Where remedial measures are necessary, design them to help prevent future crimes from occurring. Gathering this sort of information is invaluable in tracking patterns and developing appropriate countermeasures and evaluating their effectiveness.
- Develop relationships with local law enforcement for each of your locations. These partnerships will help you better understand neighborhood issues that may affect you, positively or negatively.
One effective strategy is to reach out to the local crime prevention officer on a quarterly basis to find out what’s going on and to share your own challenges and successes. Relationships like these will benefit both sides.
5. Establish crime risk benchmarks against your industry peers, so you see where you stand both in terms of risk and in terms of security measure utilization. “Peers” should include businesses in the same neighborhood as well as those in the same industry or vertical.
You can gather information from and about your peers through participation in industry trade groups and associations of local retailers. Both will make it possible for you to access information by participating in conferences or networking events, as well as through reports or databases that the organizations create.
6. Create training and awareness programs for your associates. Reinforce those lessons more frequently for associates at higher risk locations, but make sure you’re presenting them regularly across the board to keep security top of mind.
Topics might include robbery prevention and response techniques, reporting suspicious behavior to management, or facility opening and closing protocols.
7. Establish a culture of crime prevention by instituting a safety and security program that is embraced throughout the company. A mindset that is focused on the well-being of customers and employees should be part of the company’s DNA and should be supported at the highest levels of the organization. This will help reduce losses, protect the brand and assets of the company, and minimize litigation exposure.
An effective store security strategy for multiple locations must be based on a holistic understanding of the similarities and differences among all of your locations. These seven points, however, apply across the board and should serve as the basis of your overall strategy.