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Sonitrol Commercial Security Blog ... by Joe Wilson



Your Guide to Minimizing Retail Crime in British Columbia

Posted by Joe Wilson

Dec 15, 2023 11:43:00 AM

RetailA group of more than 30 British Columbia retailers, trade associations and other groups is calling for immediate government action on theft, vandalism and violent crime, which its members say have reached "epidemic proportions'' across the province.

That’s according to a new article from CBC News, which said the coalition wants all levels of government to work together to address what it calls a crime "crisis'' in retail settings.

Lauren Clark, who owns a clothing boutique in Vancouver's Gastown, told CBC News that the increased theft and vandalism has forced her to keep her doors locked during business hours, unlocking the door only when a potential customer knocks.

“Our window's been smashed twice and we've had three break ins where a lot of product was stolen," Clark told CBC News.

So, what can retailers in British Columbia do to better protect their business and minimize the chance of violent crime, theft and vandalism? Sonitrol Western Canada has listed some tips here. 

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Understanding the Risks

The first step in effective prevention is understanding the risks specific to your location and type of retail store. British Columbia's urban areas may have different crime patterns than rural ones, and high-end boutiques may be targeted differently than convenience stores. 

Stay informed about local crime statistics and trends by liaising with law enforcement and other businesses in your area - and ensure you know all of the risks to your business, and how to respond in the event each one occurs. 

Physical Security Measures

Install a Verified Alarm System: Verified alarms are a game-changer in retail security. These systems use audio or video verification to confirm a threat before alerting authorities, minimizing false alarms and ensuring a rapid response to real incidents.

Implement Managed Access Control: Invest in high-quality locks and consider access control systems that limit entry to authorized personnel. For after-hours security, roller shutters or grilles can provide an additional layer of protection against break-ins.

Secure Your Perimeter: Check the integrity of doors and windows regularly. Install impact-resistant glass and consider window bars where appropriate. Keep the area around your store well-lit and clear of obstructions that could provide cover for criminals.

Employee Training and Preparedness 

Crime Awareness: Educate your staff about the types of crimes that are common in retail environments. They should know how to recognize suspicious behaviour and understand the importance of staying vigilant.

Response Protocols: Develop clear protocols for different scenarios. Whether it's a shoplifting incident or a violent confrontation, employees should know the steps to take, including when and how to safely intervene, and when to prioritize their safety and call for help.

Communication Systems: Equip your staff with reliable communication tools to alert each other and management to potential threats. Consider panic buttons that can silently alert security personnel or local law enforcement in case of an emergency.

Operational Tactics 

Visibility: Design your store layout to maximize visibility. Use lower shelving units and avoid blind spots where theft or violence could go unnoticed.

Minimize Cash Handling: Encourage card payments or contactless transactions to reduce the amount of cash on the premises. Regularly deposit cash in the bank and vary the times and routes you take to do so.

Inventory Control: Use inventory management systems to track stock levels and identify discrepancies quickly. Tag high-value items with security tags or RFID chips to discourage theft and aid in recovery.

Engaging With the Community

Collaboration: Partner with local law enforcement and neighborhood watches to stay updated on crime prevention tactics. Attend community meetings to share information and collaborate on area-wide security initiatives.

Reporting: Report all incidents of crime, no matter how minor they may seem. Accurate reporting helps police allocate resources effectively and can warn other businesses of potential threats.

Interested in enhancing your retail security but not sure where to start? Book a free security plan with Sonitrol Western Canada today.

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Topics: Retail Security

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Joe Wilson, Owner of Sonitrol Western Canada

We provide our customers with the best commercial security solutions and quality service backed by our unique Guarantee and Commitment to Service. It's something unverified conventional alarm companies simply cannot guarantee!

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