Internal Retail Crime Rates Increase During the Holiday Season

Looking back on the holiday season, business owners prove it to be an extremely stressful time. While most think of this season as a time to bestow gifts, spend time with loved ones, and be thankful for what you have, many business owners have worries of their own. As David Zulawski CFI, CFE put it, “the holidays from Thanksgiving to New Years can put the squeeze on already over-worked and under-resourced Loss Prevention teams.” And on top of that, according to Hayes International, retail crime rates also increase by 30% during the holidays.

Zulawski, a loss prevention expert and former police officer, is a founding partner of Wicklander-Zulawski & Associates, Inc., and he has seen the holidays take their toll on retail business over the years.

Internal Retail Crime Rates Increase During the Holiday Season

“Part-timers, they’re not committed to the organization like a full-time employee would be. They often will get an increase in theft activity because of that … Some of the numbers would say that about 70% of the people who steal internally have been with the organization less than one year,” Zulawksi said. “Probably 70% of that 70% are less than six months. So, there’s a real relationship between short time people and younger folks and the lack of commitment to that organization that allows them to steal.”

This creates the perfect storm for a crime to occur. When you factor in the financial stresses associated with the holidays and the unfamiliarity retailers have with part-time holiday workers, the opportunity for crime to occur naturally becomes larger.

This leads us to another ugly fact of the retail industry, employee theft and crime collusion is a very real possibility. Just like many other crimes, it can start out very innocently and gradually morph into a serious problem. Your cashier may “sweetheart” a friend one time, and then all it takes is for word to spread and you could be losing inventory left and right.

“(Employees) can get the alarm codes, or obviously there are some pretty sophisticated burglary crews that bypass alarms and do all that, but internal collusion is often one of the big factors in commercial burglaries,” he said.

While you would like to think that you have the proper screening procedures in place, the holidays and financial stress can cause a normally trustworthy person’s judgement to become impaired. This is where having a Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) security system can act as a loss prevention safety net, allowing you to go back and check the tape to see if it matches up with any financial inconsistencies you may be seeing.

A professional security provider will be able to customize your security system to benefit your business optimally. The bottom line is that installing a video system allows you to monitor suspicious activity before it turns into something more. With a camera placed behind the cash register of a convenience store, for example, you can monitor every transaction made. You are legally obligated to inform your employee that he or she is under surveillance, and this will naturally cause them to pay more attention. It will also deter anyone thinking of committing a crime from doing so once they see the camera.

As a business owner, you can rely on a professional security system’s state-of-of-the-art DVRs to offer maximum protection and numerous benefits that range from superior video quality, to remote monitoring, to unattended archiving. Also, with remote monitoring and IP-based video surveillance systems, you can monitor video data from virtually anywhere, and at anytime; keep these facts in mind and consider equipping your business with a professionally installed security system.


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