Retail Crime Rises Around the Holidays: How Businesses Protect Themselves

Retail Crime Rises Around the Holidays: How Businesses Protect Themselves

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The holidays are stressful for everyone. That goes double for retail workers, thanks to increased demand for consumer goods and bigger crowds in stores. It’s not just cashiers and clerks who feel this pressure, either. Loss prevention teams work overtime during the holiday season, too. Every year, retail crime rates go up as the temperatures go down.

How do loss prevention teams address this increased pressure from thieves? It’s a matter of thinking like a thief.

Who Is Likely To Steal?

Some people might assume that higher crime rates correlate only to the larger crowds in stores. This isn’t always the case, though. In most retail environments, holiday theft rates rise due to the actions of seasonal workers.

Loss prevention experts argue that part-time workers don’t have as much care for their employer as full-timers. As a result, they’re more likely to view their job as an opportunity to make a quick buck. Younger employees also might not fully appreciate the severity of stealing from a business.

Inside Jobs

Organized retail crime is a problem throughout the year, but it gets worse around the holidays. Seasonal staff can access safe codes and learn loss prevention techniques that they then pass to organized burglars. These criminals typically give their insiders a cut of the money for the stolen goods. However, the inside accomplice usually doesn’t help commit the actual crime.

Hiring managers can be stressed during the holiday season, leading to worse decision-making. Sometimes, bad employees just slip through the cracks. So, how else can businesses protect themselves from these forms of insider crime?

Preventing Retail Crime

One of the best ways to curtail crime is to install video surveillance in a store. Employers legally must inform their crews if they’re on camera, but this isn’t a bad thing. Retail staff who are aware that they’re on camera are much less likely to steal from their company.

Cameras can help managers keep an eye on the store even when they aren’t present in person, too. This lets them detect suspicious behavior before it gets out of hand. 

Employers are also encouraged to be patient and empathetic with their workers. This should be the case year-round, but it’s especially true near the holidays. Heavy workloads and constant stress can make otherwise friendly employees bitter and more likely to steal. Keeping their employees happy doesn’t cost businesses much, and it’s a better alternative than being targeted by organized retail crime.