6 Key Areas Where Retailers are Vulnerable to Holiday Shopping Theft

Whether you are small, local mom-and-pop shop, a specialty boutique, national convenience store chain, or large big box retailer, your store is especially vulnerable to theft during the holiday shopping season.

While the holidays bring larger crowds and increased sales for retailers, the holiday shopping season also leads to an increase in employee and external theft.

See the areas where your store is the most vulnerable to theft and what you can do to protect your profits.

Store Entrances

1. Store Entrances

While it may seem obvious, shoplifting and theft happens at store entrances. Thieves look for unsecured merchandise near the front of the store that they can quickly grab and walk out with.

Some thieves work with a partner who will create a distraction in the store while they walk out with merchandise, or have someone waiting in a car out front to help them make a quick getaway. “Flash mob” theft is also becoming more popular.

This is where a small-to-large group of thieves grab mass amounts of merchandise and run out of the store with it. Retailers need to be on the lookout for groups of people hanging out near the store entrance.

To keep your store entrance secure, you need to have a video security solution in place, along with implementing a few strategies to deter theft. These strategies include:

  1. Avoid putting expensive or easy-to-grab merchandise near the entrance of the store
  2. Install RFID sensors near the entrance
  3. Create a strategic “obstacle course” using store fixtures and tables near the entrance, making it difficult for thieves to easily run out of the store with a clear path, and
  4. Place an employee or security guard near the store entrance to greet and customers and keep watch.

Solutions for Store Entrances

Monitoring and securing store entrances is absolutely essential for store owners, and having a visible video security system and signage in place near store entrances is your first line of defense to deter shoplifting and theft.

A megapixel IP camera or HD analog security camera will deliver megapixel resolution video that provides video evidence and the high level of detail needed for positive facial identification. Hidden cameras near the store entrance can provide an additional layer of security.

Cash Registers

2. Cash Registers

The cash register and cash wrap area is a vulnerable location for both employee theft and shoplifting. Dishonest employees can steal from the register by over-ringing sales and pocketing the difference, or avoiding ringing up cash transactions, voiding transactions and gifting merchandise to friends and family.

Cash wrap areas are also prime targets for thieves who grab easy-to-steal and conceal items such as gift cards, convenience items and accessories.

Solutions for Cash Registers

A high quality video security system with video management software (VMS) software that provides seamless integration of video and POS data can be invaluable to retail security. This brings the power of video to your POS data, delivering visual evidence with recorded video of every employee transaction.

You can also install an HD analog camera near the cash register to provide sharp, detailed 1080p high-definition video for video evidence. HD analog also provides the ability to zoom in on video in live and playback mode for closer forensic inspection.

Installing hidden cameras near the register can also help catch dishonest employees that steal from the register when they think no one is watching them.

Warehouses and Stockrooms

3. Warehouses and Stockrooms

Warehouses and stock rooms are prime targets for theft, especially employee theft. In fact, employee theft is estimated to cost employers between $20 billion and $40 billion annually. Warehouses and stockrooms are full of merchandise and are sometimes poorly lit, not heavily-monitored, or do not have a surveillance solution in place.

The first line of defense for reducing employee theft in the warehouse is to install both highly-visible security cameras that offer low light surveillance capabilities along with high-resolutions, and covert cameras that are hidden inside of an enclosure that looks like a common object you would see in a warehouse.

Solutions for Warehouses and Stockrooms

A good strategy for warehouses and stockrooms is to create a “funneling” opportunity. This involves using traditional visible video security cameras to funnel employees to dark or smaller areas outside of the scope of the visible video cameras to commit the theft.

To complete your funneling strategy, you simply place hidden cameras inside of enclosures that are disguised as common objects such as a smoke detector, speaker, sprinkler, or floodlight in the outskirt areas to capture the crime on camera and provide useable video evidence to prosecute thieves.

Store Perimeters

4. Store Perimeters

The exterior of your store, including front doors and entrances, back doors and exits, windows, parking lots and loading docks are prime targets for burglars and vandals. Monitoring these trouble spots is essential for protecting your store and your profits.

Unlit areas and locations obscured by overgrown landscaping are also targeted areas for burglars to gain entry to your store and avoid being seen.

Solutions for Store Perimeters

Creating a layered security solution, by installing IK10 vandal-resistant dome cameras that provide protection from impact and vandals, along with strategically-placed hidden cameras is instrumental for perimeter security.

Installing high-resolution, outdoor hidden cameras around the perimeter of your building, disguised as flood lights, emergency lights, speakers or sprinklers, can help you catch burglars in the act, and provide the needed video evidence to prosecute.

Also, installing adequate lighting around the exterior of your building is instrumental for protecting your business from burglaries and theft. Placing lighting above theft-prone areas such as entrances, exits, warehouses, and loading docks creates a strong deterrent. Thieves are much less likely to target well-lit areas.

Loading Docks

5. Loading Docks

Loading docks are prime targets for theft, because of the continuous flow of merchandise being delivered. Without proper surveillance and security, it’s very easy for an employee, delivery driver, or thief to steal merchandise from the loading dock during a scheduled or unscheduled delivery.

Sometimes employees leave loading dock doors open to provide airflow, or simply forget to close them after a delivery, which provides thieves with easy access to enter the facility and steal goods.

Solutions for Loading Docks

Installing a high-quality video security system that provides around-the-clock monitoring is essential for keeping loading docks and shipping and receiving areas secure. Additionally, placing a hidden camera above a loading dock door enables you to monitor deliveries and inventory coming in and going out of your facility.


6. Dumpsters

Why is it important to monitor dumpsters and trash receptacle areas? Dumpsters provide employees with an easy way to steal merchandise by placing items inside of a trash bag throwing the bag into the dumpster, with the intention of returning later to retrieve the stashed goods.

Solutions for Dumpsters

Installing video surveillance solution, including a high-resolution IR bullet or dome camera above a door or high up on the building with a clear view of the dumpster or receptacle, will enable you to keep an eye on activity and provide an overview shot of the location. Choosing a camera or DVR with motion detection will help you save hard drive space by recording video when motion is detected.

A high-resolution megapixel IP or HD analog camera can provide the high level of detail needed for facial or license plate recognition, for court admissible video evidence.

You can also install a floodlight, electrical box or loudspeaker hidden camera to capture video of unwanted activity near dumpsters and trash receptacle areas.

Protecting Your Store

Having the right security plan and video surveillance solutions in place at your most vulnerable store locations will enable you to reduce theft and protect your profits during the holiday shopping season—and beyond.