How can you limit the risks your business faces? Read on as we take a look at the types of crimes you need to watch out for, and practical solutions you can implement today to help protect your business and your staff.
The Types of Crimes Impacting Businesses
The UK’s 2021 Commercial Victimisation Survey (CVS) reported that an estimated 38% of business premises in the wholesale and retail sector in England and Wales had been a victim of crime between April 2020 and March 2021.
The survey report states: “Theft by a customer was the most prevalent type of theft and also the most frequently experienced type of crime, with 11% of business premises experiencing this crime type more than once a day.”
What are the main types of retail crime?
Shoplifting is a common crime committed against retail business.
Money fraud is when criminals use an illegal method to pay for goods. This may include counterfeit cash, stolen credit cards or fraudulent cheques.
Employee theft is when staff steal or commit fraud. A thorough understanding of vulnerabilities, paired with the ability to spot red flags, can help businesses mitigate the risk of embezzlement and other white-collar crimes. Read our guide on how to prevent employee theft and fraud for more insights.
Checkout fraud includes a number of tactics where criminals avoid paying in full for goods when paying at the tills. Examples include swapping barcodes or price stickers for a less expensive item or deliberately failing to swipe a product at a self-checkout.
Refund fraud is another crime that can happen at the till. It can take the form of an offender attempting to return a stolen item in exchange for money or credit, or falsifying receipts.
Burglary can be committed against retail stores, usually when the shop is closed. These “smash and grab” crimes involve forcing entry and stealing merchandise.
Abuse can be aggressive or violent behaviour of customers towards shop workers.
Vandalism is also a risk for retail businesses. It could include graffiti, smashed windows or damaged signs.
Online scams are a risk for retailers, particularly those who sell online or hold customer data digitally. They could become a victim of online fraud or cyber security breaches. For more tips on how to protect your business from cyber criminals, read our article on how cyber crime affects your retail business.
Practical Preventative Measures to Help Protect Your Business Against Crime
Carry out a risk assessment
Start with identifying where you are most vulnerable. Perhaps you are already aware of where your business has been the victim of crime, but that might not tell the whole story. Carry out a thorough business risk assessment to determine the areas most at risk.
Secure your premises
Business owners need to ensure that physical guarding arrangements are implemented and that communication and response times from armed response are frequently tested. It’s important to know that timely action is to your benefit – an alarm report will be required in the event of a claim. Should it surface that the site alarm was not armed (activated) at the time of the incident, it could result in the rejection of the claim under your policy.
Checking response mechanisms
Implementing Closed Circuit Television Cameras (CCTV)
Verifying guarding arrangements
Improved lighting of the premises after dark
Burglar gates and bars
Panic buttons for staff during work hours
Access control (magnetic locks and “buzzer” entrance)
Regular roof and ceiling inspections – beams and cameras inside the roof are highly effective
Install an end-to-end cash management solution
For more ways to protect your business from the dangers of cash, read our blog on why your business needs a smart safe.
Secure your equipment
Carry out regular property and equipment audits and allocate responsibility for particular items to individual employees. Protect computers and valuable devices, and record details of serial numbers. Consider securing expensive equipment to floors or walls.
Protect your stock
Being organised will help you identify any discrepancies in your stock count early on. Keep on top of paperwork and question excessive amounts of voids, credits or damage claims. Make time to carry out regular stock takes.
Stop information theft
To protect sensitive information, including clients’ financial records and employee details, use access controls on computers to restrict entry. Review who has access privileges and change passwords regularly. Ensure that you protect your IT systems adequately by installing firewalls and anti-virus software.
Undertake regular checks on security measures
Crime changes because criminals know they need to find different or more sophisticated methods if they are to stay in business. Make sure that your security measures remain up to the challenge. Do this at least once a year and always remain open to suggestions about ways to better protect your business – especially when searching for the best way to mitigate the risk of managing varying amounts of cash.
Learn how to make cash handling and depositing safer
For more tips, read our blog on how to make managing and depositing money safer.
What Is a Cash Deposit Machine?
For more on how you can protect your business with cash management solutions, read our blog about the benefits of a smart safe.
Deposita Can Help Protect Your Business: Book a Free Consultation
If you would like to learn more about how Deposita can help protect your business against crime, please reach out for a free consultation.