Shoplifting at highest volume for 13 years, say police

  • Published on: 16 December 2016
  • By: Admin

Police are recording more shoplifting offences than at any other time in the past 13 years, official figures have revealed.

Police recorded 336,505 shoplifting offences in the year - a 3% rise compared to the previous year.

Security experts Leisuresec plc give their 10 tips to fight back against shoplifters…


1. Maximise Visibility

  • Security Guards – make sure security guards are easily identified with a uniform as they walk around the store
  • Staff  – ensure the staff move around the store floor- thieves feel insecure when staff  do not stay in the one location
  • Security Systems  – installing visible security cameras which also  monitor live CCTV footage
  • Signs – fit prominent signs “Shoplifters will be prosecuted”  and  “Security cameras in use”.

2. Store Design

  • Location of cash registers – if the cash registers are close to exits it is harder to steal items
  • Locked display cases – ideal to display expensive items
  • Eliminate or reduce blind spots in store – improves visibility for staff
  • Good lighting – a thief’s enemy!
  • Use of mirrors – hard to hide!
  • Hang clothing so it is harder to remove – cross-hangers combat people grabbing multiple items

3. Staff Training

  • Knowledge of store shoplifting policy – stay one step ahead
  • Understanding behaviours of shoplifters – give staff the knowledge!
  • Shoplifting methods – well worth learning
  • Places they conceal items – use of prams, large coats, carrier bags

4. Customer Service

  • Greeting customers on arrival – let’s thieves know they’re noticed
  • Asking if they need help – proven to make thieves uncomfortable

5. Communication

  • Internal - within the shop 
    • have codes for announcements
    • use of radios
    • make sure other staff are aware if people acting suspiciously
  • External – neighbouring shops & other stores in chain
    • keep other shops informed of shoplifters and they will do the same for you –‘neighbourhood watch’
    • share descriptions of people acting suspiciously
    • share details of new shoplifting methods

 6. Staff Awareness

  • Stock knowledge  - be aware of locations / numbers
  • Staff should always be alert and vigilant –be  aware of shoppers, acknowledging them
  • Staff placed around the shop  - unsettle thieves seeking to be alone
  • Changing room attendants – keep staff outside checking items in and out or keep them locked so shoppers need to ask to use them

7. Security Tags

  • Check security tags are on all items
  • Watch out for potential shoplifters trying to remove tags
  • Check all alarms when shoppers leave store

8. Hiding Places

  • Carrier Bags
    • Only give carrier bags to people who have purchased something from the store
    • Many thieves use carrier bags with empty boxes – which they can use for hiding items
  • Pushchairs - lots of compartments for hiding
  • Clothes - large jackets / wearing clothes out of the shop
  • Changing rooms - quiet place to remove tags or hide items

9. Bulk Theft

  • Opportunistic  - looking for unmanned doors
  • Racks or displays close to door provide easy access – with clothing, cross hangers on first few stands to make it harder to remove them
  • Keep staff or security guards at the front of the shop – helps deter ‘grab and run’
  • Common in retail parks - where they can park right outside the store

10. Staff Motivation

  • Involve staff in problem solving -  create a bonus scheme for reducing stock loss
  • Encourage team spirit - so all staff work together

To discover more about our dedicated theft prevention App and to see the Seven Sins of Security go to