According to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) latest National Retail Security Survey, retail crime represented $112.1 billion in losses in 2022. To bring attention to this crucial issue, October 26 has been designated as “Fight Retail Crime Day.” In support of the NRF’s initiative, Interface Systems shares some technology-based best practices for retailers to consider.
As retail crime continues to evolve in scope and sophistication, so do retailers’ prevention efforts. When asked about resource allocation to address today’s risks, over half (53%) of NRF survey respondents said they have increased their technology and software solution budgets in the past year.
“Retailers are piloting and implementing a number of loss prevention practices to deter, prevent, and mitigate these substantial losses,” said Read Hayes, director of the Loss Prevention Research Council. “In addition to enhancing traditional security measures, many are also allocating resources to innovative emerging technologies for future prevention.”
Virtual Security Guards to Protect Premises
As incidents of violence continue to rise, an increasing number of retailers are focused on protecting their staff by adopting a “hands off” policy when it comes to dealing with shoplifters. In fact, 41% of NRF survey respondents indicated that their employees are not permitted to stop or apprehend shoplifters in any way. Consequently, a substantial 46% of retailers have responded to this situation by ramping up their reliance on third-party security solutions.
Retailers can rely on remote security professionals who utilize security cameras, speakers, and microphones installed at the stores to offer discreet, always-on surveillance without putting store associates at risk. These services allow trained security professionals to identify threats such as argumentative customers, loiterers at the store’s perimeter, or those intent on committing theft.
Should a security event happen, they can issue an immediate audio warning, interact directly with store employees to guide them, or call law enforcement. The support of virtual guard services can ensure rapid response and boost employee morale without negatively affecting the customer experience or cutting into operating margins.
AI-Enabled Cameras to Proactively Identify Threats
The key to minimizing loss or ensuring recovery is accurate and real-time detection of security events such as theft or burglary. While intrusion alarms with video verification work well, AI-enabled cameras can become powerful assets in minimizing loss by triggering real-time alerts.
These cameras can help security teams keep a watchful eye on product shelves, track the movement of products across camera zones throughout the store, and detect known perpetrators walking into the store. When integrated with point-of-sale (POS) systems, they further enhance tracking capabilities, flagging unscanned items at manned checkout counters or self-checkout stations for investigation. They can also be used to analyze traffic patterns to optimize store layout and optimize merchandising.
Intelligent Automated Voice-Down Systems to Deter Crime
Fighting crime at the store perimeter is as important as protecting the inside. Parking lots, alleyways, and loading docks can be magnets for nefarious activities, including vandalism and loitering. These areas represent some of the toughest challenges facing loss prevention and asset protection teams. It’s almost impossible to have a continuous security presence everywhere.
However, AI-enabled cameras integrated with pre-recorded voice-downs can act as an intelligent sentry that’s always on the watch. The system works autonomously by accurately detecting people or vehicles and triggering a series of calibrated voice-downs that can effectively convey security presence and impending response by law enforcement.
Autonomous voice-down systems have the capability to proactively deter loitering, vandalism, or other undesirable activities. These voice-down announcements can include messages such as “Attention, loitering is strictly prohibited in this area” or “This store is equipped with advanced surveillance systems. Think twice before committing a crime.” Voice-downs serve to establish a continuous security presence, thereby increasing the perceived risk for criminals.
Intelligent voice-down solutions can be integrated with strobes, lights, access control systems, alarm systems, and remote command centers to trigger proactive security measures or alert staff and remote security professionals monitoring the site.
“Violence and theft continue to impact consumers, retailers, workers, and the communities they serve at unprecedented levels,” said Sean Foley, SVP of customer success at Interface Systems. “We applaud the NRF’s initiative to unite the retail industry in the fight against rising retail crime. … With the right balance of solutions, retailers can protect their assets, customers, and employees without sacrificing margins and the shopping experience.”