Theft against shops can account for a major reduction in their profits. We have found a small CCTV system to be the most cost-effective form of prevention for shops of all sizes and type. Tagging is expensive while mirrors are often used more effectively by the shoplifter than the shop assistants. Because a camera does not allow the shoplifter to know whether they are being watched, or recorded, at any particular moment they are uneasy about stealing while under the camera’s view. They will, therefore, normally go to another shop where the odds are in their favour rather than being against them or unknown. For the majority of those tempted to shoplift it will provide a very high level of deterrence. Letters we receive from customers indicate that a professionally installed camera system can reduce shoplifting by up to 90%.
Retail Crime Surveys
Retail crime cost UK retailers £1.6 billion in 2011/12 This is a 15.6% increase compared with last yearâ€™s survey.
Average shrinkage as proportion of sales estimated at 1.21%
Customer theft accounted for 28 per cent of all losses by value. Compared with the previous year, the number of incidents per 100 stores rose by 59 per cent. The average value of customer theft also rose by almost 28 per cent to £109.19 per incident, up from £85.50 in the previous year.
The survey reported 612,819 incidents of customer theft in 2011-12 equating to 83 per cent of all retail crime by number of incidents. On average, retailers in our sample estimated that 56 per cent of customer theft went undetected so the actual number of incidents is likely to be in excess of one million.
Extrapolating this figure to the whole industry suggests around two million incidents per year.
Employee theft accounted for 4 per cent of all retail crime by value. Offences almost doubled to 10.2 incidents per 1,000 employees from 5.2 in the previous year. The average value of goods stolen rose more than three-fold to £1,577 from £342 in the previous year.
Robberies remained stable at 4.8 incidents per 100 stores and accounted for 0.7 per cent of the total cost of crime. The average cost per incident trebled to £3,005, from £989, a 204 per cent increase (per incident) when compared to the previous year.
Burglaries accounted for 2.9 per cent of retail crime by value. The number of incidents per 100 stores almost doubled to 19.4 per cent from 10.2 per cent in the previous year, a rise of 90 per cent when compared to the previous year. However, the average cost per incident of burglary fell by 17 per cent to £1,730.
Criminal damage accounted for 1 per cent of retail crime by the number of incidents and 1.4 per cent of the total cost of crime. The cost of these offences has risen by 447 per cent when compared to the previous year, with an average cost of £962 per incident. The number of incidents more than doubled to 78.3 per 100 outlets, from 32.6 in the previous year, a 140 per cent increase (per 100 stores). The most common form of criminal damage was attempted burglary which accounted for 44 per cent of incidents.
Violence Against Staff
Violence against staff remains an unacceptable threat to the health and wellbeing of the retail sectorâ€™s three million employees but some progress has been made to tackle this issue. In 2011-12, the total number of incidents against employees fell to 11.6 incidents per 1,000 staff, a 55 per cent reduction when compared to the previous year. Physical violence, threats of violence and verbal threats all fell leading to the lowest rate of violence against staff recorded in over eight years.
One of these studies examined 54,000 shops which account for just under half of all retail sales in Britain, the other studied retail outlets responsible for over 27% of sales, so no shopkeeper should ignore these results on the basis that, “it isn’t relevant to my business”.
Survey 1 was the National Survey of Retail Theft and Security and is part of a three-year study.(click here for full survey)
Survey 2 was the Retail Crime Costs Survey by the British Retail Consortium of which many shopkeepers, both small and large, are members.(click here for full survey)
Some of the facts that have come out of the surveys make very sombre reading.
Shrinkage from small retailers (1.91%) is nearly one third higher than from the large retailers (1.49%) One survey found that average shrinkage of 1.6% results in an average loss of profits of 17.8% (See chart for details of your own retail sector), while the other stated that without the two million crimes suffered by retailers last year profits would have been 25% higher.
Over 97% of shrinkage is undetected by retailers at the time of the crime or subsequently.
For every theft that is detected over 46 go undetected.
Shrinkage is rising dramatically, estimated to having doubled since 1986.
This table shows the average shrinkage rates and the consequent loss of profits for your sector of retail sales according to those shops in the survey.