According to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention (NASP), an approximate value of  $35 million worth of goods are stolen from retailers every day. This translates to an estimated $35 billion each year.

Fortunately, there are many ways business owners can prevent people from stealing directly from their shops and supermarkets, but they must first of all know the signs. Here are five indications someone may be shoplifting from your store:

Common Signs of Shoplifting

While the following characteristics don’t guarantee someone is stealing, there are certain trends that suggest someone may be shoplifting or about to shoplift. Consider these signs when trying to identify shoplifters:

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1. Large groups: It’s common for shoplifters to work in groups. Always be wary when a large group enters your store, shop or supermarket fr that matter and causes a disturbance. Oftentimes, shoplifters will use this tactic to distract employees and as a cover to steal commodities. Ask for assistance, if needed, to keep an eye on the larger party and/or group that has entered your premise.

2. Hovering or loitering: Sometimes shoplifters may hang out inside or outside the store, shop of supermarket for long periods of time. If you notice this suspicious activity in your shop, consider asking them if they need any help finding what they’re looking for. If they continue to hover, then it’s likely they may be waiting for the right time to shoplift.

3. Nervousness: If you see someone that looks abnormally nervous, it’s a good sign they may be up to something suspicious. Shifty eyes, pacing or picking up items they have no interest in can be considered suspicious activity.

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4. Loose clothing and large bags: Consider the suspect’s clothing. If they are wearing large, bulky coats on a warm or hot day, or clothing that looks unnecessarily large, they might be trying to conceal items underneath. Also, short or abnormal steps can indicate someone is trying to conceal items underneath or inside clothing. Probable shoplifters may also deliberately refuse to leave their bags at supermarkets designated place where luggage ought to be left while gaining access the the supermarket.

5. Leaving fitting rooms with less items: Fitting, popularly known as dressing rooms rooms provide ideal cover for shoplifters because supermarket owners cannot install cameras in those areas due to privacy. If someone takes several items into a fitting room and leaves with less or none at all, then they might be stealing. Be aware of the number of items they enter and exit fitting rooms with.

Shoplifting Prevention Tips

Using certain customer service techniques and security equipment is an effective approach when working to spot and prevent shoplifters. Consider the following practices:

  • Train employees on how to spot suspicious behavior and the common signs mentioned above.
  • Create a protocol to make sure employees know what to do once they’ve identified a shoplifter.
  • Optimize your store/Shop to have a more open, clean and organized layout. Cluttered, unkempt stores are much easier targets than clean stores with open spaces.
  • Invest in electronic article surveillance (EAS) for audible alerts when someone tries to walk out with tagged merchandise.
  • Install a video surveillance system to help deter shoplifters who know they are being watched and to capture visual evidence to help police in their investigation.

Keep these tips in mind when trying to spot shoplifters and connect with a trusted security professional for a plan tailored to your business’s needs.

How do you spot shoplifters? Share in the comments below.

Author: Livingstone Were
Livingstone is a security and safety expert specializing in cybersecurity, corporate security management, public safety, and private investigations.

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