Retailers are taking action against rising crime

customer purchasing clothes

Advice for retailers in a bid to protect their livelihoods and staff against rising crime rates.

In the current climate, where the cost of living is soaring, crime against shops and retailers has rocketed. In our research* we conducted, just over 8 in 10 shopkeepers have experienced crime, and over a quarter experienced violence against themselves, their staff and even their customers in the last six months.

Our new research* reveals that over two thirds of retailers think that crime has increased in 2023, with 19% considering leaving physical retail due to the crime epidemic, and 15% contemplating leaving the retail sector altogether.

To combat the rise in crime, just over 8 in 10 shopkeepers have had to take security measures to protect their business. As a result, the high street is now commonly seeing the use of bodycams and panic alarms, with a quarter of retailers security tagging expensive products or more products than before. Attacks on staff have also become a concern, with some shopkeepers going to the extreme measures of training employees in self-defence and personal safety.

1 in 10 shopkeepers have also had to keep doors locked to control crime.

Retailers are being urged to step up their security even more where possible and to implement precautionary measures, to protect their livelihoods and help deter criminals.

Our experts at NFU Mutual Risk Management Services Limited offer their advice for retailers:

1 Use customer service as a tool to deter thieves – greeting a potential criminal lets them know they have been acknowledged and will deter them as they have been identified.

2 Keeping the store tidy – make sure store layouts are organised and tidy, placing high-value items, or items which are more desirable for thieves, in monitorable areas and in clear view.

3 Train staff to recognise shoplifting tactics – for example, concealing items under coats or distracting shopkeepers – and ensure they know how to keep themselves safe.

4 Keep high value items safe – if possible, limit the number of high value items on display and secure remaining stock within a robust, lockable store.

5 Consider signage – clear signage in-store notifying thieves that they will be prosecuted may deter the criminal.

6 Regular stocktaking – keeping on top of your stock helps to identify which items are being targeted.

7 Reduce blind spots – consider adding mirrors to the store to reduce any blind spots you may have.

8 Installing CCTV – if investing in surveillance (CCTV) ensure it provides good quality images, that the recordings are stored onto the cloud, and that the recording meets GDPR requirements.

9 Be Cyber aware – understand the threats of Cybercrime and make sure you have cyber insurance in place, should the worst happen.

10 Protect your data – consider hiring data protection specialists to provide ongoing security of yours and your customers data.

*Survey of 500 decision makers in retail conducted by OnePoll on behalf of NFU Mutual between 8-12 September 2023.

Risk Management Services are provided by NFU Mutual Risk Management Services Limited and are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority.