Crime Prevention Tips for Business Owners
Posted on June 2, 2017
Want to keep your business safe? Attorney Michael J. Petro offers crime prevention tips for Lincoln Park business owners.
With “smash-and-grab” thefts in the news lately, many business owners are wondering what steps they can take to avert crime this summer.
In one recent instance, thieves struck a clothing store in Lincoln Park for the sixth time by smashing a minivan through the store’s window, grabbing coats and jackets, and fleeing in another vehicle. Other forms of theft, like shoplifting, are more subtle but can leave just as much financial damage in their wake.
Experts say that retail thefts total $13 billion annually in the United States. Much of that theft comes from organized shoplifting rings targeting large retailers. But, small businesses also experience their share of theft. This theft can be organized, but is often unplanned and results from opportunity presenting itself to the thieves.
What are some actions you can take now to protect your business as the summer shopping season begins?
Analyze Your Space
Whether you own a small business or a large retail store, it’s a good idea to periodically take a look at your space with a critical eye to determine how you can improve safety and security. Consider removing any items that hinder you and your employees from seeing all areas of the store, and place any expensive items in cases that lock.
To protect assets from smash-and-grab thefts like the recent Lincoln Park cases, double check your locks, lighting — including during times the store is closed — alarm system and video surveillance. Consider installing bars on doors and windows that trigger if the glass around them breaks.
Beef up Security, and Post Warnings
No security system is foolproof, but most thieves will gravitate to businesses with fewer obvious security measures in place. After installing security equipment like cameras, two-way mirrors and locking cabinets, be sure to post plenty of highly visible warnings.
Post signs noting that you’ll prosecute shoplifters along with signs that say security cameras are in use and the premises are monitored around the clock. Even if your cameras are not obvious, potential thieves may believe they’re hidden beyond view.
Use Smart Technologies
Although cameras and alarm systems remain a critical component of an overall strategy, many businesses are now integrating new technologies that take security to a higher level. Thieves constantly increase their game and learn how to defeat existing technologies; to protect your business, it’s important to stay a step ahead.
For example, data analysis is an emerging field that businesses are using to great benefit. By harvesting the data collected by your existing technologies, you may gain the ability to predict and deter future thefts. In addition, Radio Frequency Identification — known as RFID — chips can help you track merchandise before it leaves your store, and facial recognition software can help you identify repeat offenders.
Get Employees on Board
Your staff members should play a key role in your security strategy. Well-trained employees should greet consumers when they enter your site and discreetly keep watch, and they should keep an eye out for any large bags, packages or bulky clothing that could be used to conceal merchandise.
Consider locking dressing rooms that require customers to seek assistance from an employee to enter, and have enough staff members on every shift to help customers and keep an eye on your merchandise and overall customer flow.
Maintain a Welcoming Atmosphere
As you continue to implement security measures that deter theft and other crime, it’s important to provide your customers with a welcoming, pleasant experience.
Remember that no security technology can take the place of well-trained, enthusiastic personnel who remain aware as they provide excellent customer service. By approaching and interacting with customers, your employees help prevent theft and promote a secure environment.
Attorney Michael J. Petro is a dedicated and trusted Chicago criminal defense attorney. Born and raised in Chicago, Mr. Petro has been practicing law here for nearly 30 years. When not practicing law he enjoys spending his time with his three children.