4 Tips to Prevent Thefts During Winter
Like the rest of us, criminals probably don’t particularly relish braving the elements of winter. Nonetheless, they’re out in force this time of year because the onslaught of cold brings certain opportunities with it.
Specifically, winter attire helps criminals blend in with other people, conceal more of their identifying features, and more easily hide weapons and stolen merchandise.
Whereas a criminal posing as a customer and wearing a bulky coat in your store would be conspicuous in July, the same individual’s appearance is commonplace during the winter months. A winter coat, scarf, and hat can make a criminal difficult to recognize on security-camera recordings.
And masters of the art of sneak, switch, and deception theft can use bulkier winter garments to conceal their actions and hide the merchandise that they’ve swiped.
Of course, you can’t be suspicious of everyone who walks into your store dressed in winter garb on a cold day. But you can rededicate yourself and your staff to the sound procedures that can help deter would-be criminals who enter your store.
Employ these practices to prevent thefts during the winter months:
Meet and greet:
An eye-contact greeting lets customers know they are welcomed and appreciated — and makes would-be criminals uncomfortable knowing that you’re paying attention to them.
Wait on one customer at a time. This is a good customer-service practice for those who are interested in purchasing your merchandise and it dissuades those who would rather attempt to get the “five-finger discount.”
Inspect customer-handled merchandise:
The threat of sleight-of-hand switch theft is real. There are some good illusionists out there. Is your store’s ring in the customer’s coat pocket while you’re now holding a fake replica? Be sure to inspect your merchandise items before showing them to a customer and re-inspect them before putting them back in the showcase. Confirm that the item you showed (and likely allowed the customer to handle) is, indeed, the item that is being returned.
Turn the key:
Always make sure that your merchandise is secured. Re-lock your showcase every time you retrieve an item from it. Do you want to avoid a sneak theft? Lock your showcase every single time. Keeping the key on a wrist band minimizes the inconvenience. Never keep keys in a common area that could be accessible to would-be criminals.