With the current economy crisis there has been a significant increase in organized retail theft across the country. National statistics show that organized retail crime results in $30 billion to $37 billion. The FBI continues to warn retailers and the public that these losses appear to be growing. The National Retail Federation posted an annual survey that states 85% of retailers have been victims of retail crimes this past year. This is a 6% increase from the year 2007.
This week I was reading an article that retailers in Maine are fighting back against retail crime and finally becoming proactive about the increasing problem. A task force is being organized that includes retailers, law enforcement and prosecutors. They are starting to research the issues and find ways to prevent and fight the increased wave in crime and educate and train merchants that just can’t afford high cost security staffs. Many Maine retailers are also pushing hard to get the penalties for shoplifting offenders and burglars increased. Did you know in Maine shoplifting is not a felony unless the theft involves $1,000 of goods or more?!
Many Maine loss prevention specialists have stated that online sites such as eBay, Craig’s List and other online sites offering merchandise through auctions and free online advertising assist a great deal in the increase of retail crime. Retail thieves and shoplifters can very easily remain anonymous to resell the stolen goods in their possession.
For anyone one in retail security consulting or loss prevention here are some great tips that Maine retailers are implementing to fight retail crime:
• Educate and train retailers
• Institute a “call-around” program amongst the retailers; if a surveillance camera detects suspicious activity. Then within minutes everyone has been alerted
• Training retail staff to understand and recognize retail crime
• Always open any large packages or containers that customers purchase
• Install surveillance cameras
• Train retail staff to talk to each customer who enters and is shopping in the store; this often scares off potential shoplifters. Remember customer service is always good for good customers and it is also really good for bad customers.