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Spotting Thieves

How to Visually Detect a Thief in Your StoreJuly 29, 2016

Shoplifting is a huge problem for business owners all over the world. Many retail stores spend thousands of dollars in equipment and security personnel to prevent it. There are a few ways to pinpoint a shoplifter, but you should remember that approaching a thief on your own is dangerous and best left to law enforcement or security guards.

Clothing and Accessories

Most thieves do not want to be recognized, but they also do not want to stand out from other shoppers. Pay attention to individuals who wear dark colors, hoods, and sunglasses even inside your store. Sometimes, these individuals may wear scarves or other accessories designed to cover their faces as much as possible. Many stores these days require individuals to remove hats and sunglasses before entering for this very reason.

Lingering and Loitering

Another way to catch a shoplifter involves watching them as they move through your store. Sometimes, individuals will hover in the same spot for several minutes, waiting for other shoppers to clear away – or for you to turn your back. A good counter to this involves walking up to the person and asking him or her if you can help with anything. If this person knows that he or she has your attention, the attempt will likely go down the drain.

Large Groups

Thieves tend to believe that there is safety in numbers, and they may be correct to an extent. Pay attention for groups of up to eight people entering your store, splitting up, and then converging on their target at some point a few minutes later. They believe that if there are more of them to catch, you are more likely to ignore their actions. Offer assistance to them, remain aware, and contact the authorities if you suspect theft.

Pay Extra Attention at Closing

Many shoplifters believe that they are clever and cunning enough to get away with thievery, so it is up to you to stay a step ahead. For instance, most thieves tend to wait until closing time to target you or your merchandise since there are fewer patrons around. Pay close attention to customers who seem to ask many questions at this time because they may be trying to distract you.

Install Security Cameras

If you do not already have them, strategically placed security cameras are a huge help. In the event that you notice any of the aforementioned traits of a shoplifter, you can closely monitor their movements from afar and contact the police when necessary. This keeps you safe since you do not need to confront the thief alone, and it gives you the evidence you need to prosecute, should it come to that.

In short, learning to spot a shoplifter is one of the best ways to protect your merchandise, your register, and your livelihood. However, it is important to remember that your safety is always more important than stopping a shoplifter. Be sure to call the police if things turn violent, and never attempt to apprehend a fleeing criminal on your own.

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