Security Essentials to Protect Your Retail Location

Shoplifting and employee theft both increased in 2016. Shoplifting cost employers $798.48 per incident and employee theft cost $1,922.80 per occurrence, according to National Retail Federation statistics.

A decrease in retail security budgets has contributed to this growing theft, the NRF’s research found. This means employers must fight back by taking more proactive security measures. Here are a few ways to do so —


In today’s omni-channel shopping environment, cybersecurity is essential. Nearly one in three retailers have already suffered losses due to online breaches, a Cisco report found, and attacks are on the rise.

Making sure you’re in compliance with PCI standards is a first step toward achieving cybersecurity. PCI standards require taking security measures for card readers, point-of-sale systems, store networks, wireless routers, etc. Shopify provides an online guide to how to become PCI compliant.

While being PCI compliant forms a foundation for cybersecurity, it doesn’t protect you from all lines of attack, and you still need to follow sound online security policies. Employ strong passwords and two-factor authentication for company devices, use secure connections, keep software and antivirus programs updated, and encrypt and backup your data. The FCC provides more detailed tips on cybersecurity for small business.


Solid retail security also depends on surveillance systems, which serve multiple purposes. Their most valuable function is deterring theft from outsiders and employees by letting would-be thieves know they are being monitored. Security cameras can also be placed to identify thieves and help recover stolen property.

Commercial security monitoring is designed primarily for outdoor use, ideal for monitoring parking lots and building perimeters, preventing nighttime break-ins and robberies outside your premises.

There are also a variety of surveillance cameras designed for indoor use.

Dome cameras, which look like upside-down globes, are frequently seen in stores. These serve as a deterrent by letting you monitor activity in multiple directions from a single location.

Bullet cameras are designed to point in a single direction and are excellent for monitoring high-priced items, cash registers, store entry points and other fixed locations.

Lighting and Visibility

Good lighting and high visibility are crucial for deterring crime. It’s also important to trim any landscaping features that thieves could hide behind, such as trees and bushes.

Visibility can also deter crime inside your store. Strong, highly visible safes with prominent signs saying clerks can’t open them can deter thieves by letting them know robbery attempts would be futile. Placing safes near well-lit windows visible from the street and security cameras can further deter burglars by making it impossible for them to steal without being seen.

Locks and Alarms

Solid barriers and reliable alarms are acan keep your retail location secure. The best lock to prevent picking is a pin-cylinder lock with a deadbolt or double deadbolt, recommends West Bend Insurance Company. Bars can also be used to fortify back doors, windows and other entrance points.

Keep written documentation of which employees have keys. Don’t make the mistake of using one master key for all your locks. Use color coding so only authorized personnel know which keys correspond to locks.

Alarms provide backup for when barriers have been breached. Silent alarm systems increase your odds of catching criminals in the act, while loud alarms can serve as a deterrent. For best results, alarms should be coupled with motion sensors and security monitoring services.

Photo Credit: Image provided by Social Monsters with permission to use. 

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