How to control Shoplifting ? (Remedies to Shoplifting)

Here are a few remedies that helps control theft.

Establish a Policy

Establish a store policy for the prevention of customer theft and ensure that all staffs are aware of it. Remember to brief new and part time employees on store policy procedures.

Educate Your Staff

Well-trained and alert staff forms the basis for good crime prevention. Don’t rely on Technology instead of investing in proper staff training. Training need not be expensive - 15 minutes each week should be enough to refresh your staff’s memories, and stay alert.


Teach your staff to be alert, and to recognise shop thieves. Thieves will often look around the room rather than at the products, or behave in other suspicious ways. Train your staff to spot potential thieves.

Knowing what to do when a suspect is identified

Decide what you expect your staff to do when a suspect is identified. Making suspects aware that they have been noticed will often be enough to deter crime. Use the normal sales approach e.g. ‘can I help you in any way?’ or ‘can I help you find anything?’ Make yourself busy near the suspect; keep walking past them; smile at them, and look them in the eye. If the theft has already occurred you will want your staff to keep the suspect under observation - or alert specialist security staff if you employ them & detain the customer when he/she approaches the exit gate.

Physical Security

Use of a combination of preventive measures. Most strategies work best in combination rather than isolation, e.g. CCTV can work effectively, particularly where helped by security mirrors, good lighting, and alert well-trained staff. Store design is important.

Some useful measures are:


Mirrors can help you keep an eye on areas, which would otherwise be out of sight.

Display (’Loop’) Alarms

High value goods can be protected by alarm wires which ‘Loop’ through them to an alarm box. If the wire is disconnected or cut, the alarm sounds. Product tagging may also be of value.

In-store closed circuit television (CCTV)

CCTV cameras will deter some thieves, and can help with prosecutions if good quality equipment is used. Cameras should be highly visible, e.g. monitors may be mounted at entrances, and signs displayed alerting potential thieves to the use of CCTV.

Dummy cameras can provide an inexpensive short term deterrent on their own, or increase the apparent cover and hence deterrent value of a live system. But do not rely solely on dummy cameras. Thieves will soon find it out.

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)

RFID tags can be tagged to each of the inventory capturing rack-space. If someone tries to take out this products with RF tags tagged to it, sensors will find it and it will beep.

Store Banning

Your shop is private property, just like your home. Although there is an implied invitation to come in and shop, you are fully entitled to exclude any person from your shop if you feel that their presence is unhelpful to your business - e.g. drunks, or someone whom you have previously caught, or suspected of stealing.

You do not have to give any reason for banning someone. Just politely tell them that you would rather they did not shop here any more, and that you would appreciate it if they do not come into your store again. If they return they will be trespassing, and you can order them to leave. If they refuse, you are entitled to call the police assist you in removing them. If your shop is in a shopping centre, then you can call a security guard.


Nilesh Shah Over 10 years of experience in the field of software development, sales and marketing. He has assisted over 500 Retailers and Restaurateurs in implementing the Retail and F&B software with barcode & pos hardware for their business. He holds a designation of Director, Marketing in Rance Computer Pvt Ltd. He holds the certification from Microsoft Corporation and NIS. His current research focuses on developing and implementing intelligent retail systems...

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