How your Store’s Layout Can Reduce Crime
Shoplifting costs businesses millions of dollars each year. Many store owners simply feel as though there’s nothing they can do to prevent it. They simply see it as a cost of doing business. That doesn’t have to be the case. There are things that you can do to reduce shoplifting at your retail store. One major way to deter criminals is by correctly utilizing your store’s layout.
At first this may sound strange. You may not think that the way your store is laid out can possibly have anything to do with reducing crime. That isn’t true. The layout of your store can be a powerful tool for reducing instances of shoplifting and theft. Here are a few tips.
- Increase visibility
- Criminals do not want to be caught in the act. They like to work where they won’t be seen. Shoplifters typically hide in corners or behind store displays and use the cover of these areas to slip items from their hands into their pockets or bags. By increasing visibility in your store, you reduce these crimes. Structure your store to eliminate as many blind spots as possible. Keep all areas well-lit and open. Don’t give shoplifters places to hide.
- Another important visibility tip is to keep your windows unobstructed. Criminals often like to secretly scout out locations from outside before attempting a crime. By keeping your windows clear, store employees can see if anyone is hanging out outside the store and looking for an opportunity. This is a big benefit to rollaway or folding security gates. They provide complete visibility when the store is opened while still securing the property when they are locked.
- Lock fitting rooms and stock rooms
- If you’re running a clothing store, lock your fitting rooms so that customers need to ask staff for the key. Make sure that the rooms are located in an area where staff can see everyone who is entering and leaving the room. A common crime sees a person take items into the dressing room in order to hide some of them under their clothes or in a bag before leaving the room. If you have the fitting room positioned where staff can clearly see people entering and exiting, you reduce these crimes. Locking the room and requiring a key takes this a step further.
- Stock rooms are another area that need to be secured. Locking these rooms or protecting them with a security gate will reduce theft. Design the layout of your store so that criminals can’t slide into the stock room without anyone noticing.
- Position your cash correctly
- Locate your store’s cash register in a location where customers need to pass by it frequently and where they have to do so in order to enter and exit the store. Since you will almost always have a staff member standing behind the register, your cash is a good place to use to monitor the entire property. If you position the cash so that customers have no choice but to walk by it to enter the store, they will immediately know that someone is watching them and they will be less likely to commit a crime. If they need to walk by the same cash to exit the store, they will be much less likely to try anything illegal.
These layout tips, when combined with diligent staff and a security plan that involves store security gates and physical security tools, will help you reduce shoplifting at your retail store.