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Archive for December, 2016

Bags Will be Filled

179-015‘Tis the season for families and friends to get together. For some, this means travelling to loved ones or taking a vacation. It is also the time when bags get packed with gifts and goodies, but not by Santa Claus. I am talking about criminals who are waiting to find empty houses and take advantage of the holiday season. Here are some ways to protect your home and yourself over the holidays.

  1. Secure Your Valuables

If you are leaving a car parked on the street or driveway while you are away, make sure you remove all valuables from plain sight. This includes any clothing, electronics, bags, etc. Even if you leave your car in the garage, you should also remove all valuables to make sure they remain safe if someone breaks into your garage. It is also wise to place any important documents and jewelry in a safe inside of your home, a safe deposit box or a hidden secure location.

  1. Don’t Post Your Travel Plans Online

Although you might be excited about your vacation plans and want to share them with friends, it could end up being an invitation for thieves. This is especially true if you do not have strict privacy settings on your social media accounts. You are sharing this information with people you do not know. That is why it is important to be aware whenever you are posting your travel plans and location online.

  1. Have a Family Member, Friend or Neighbour Check In

Tell someone you trust — such as a family member, neighbour or friend — that you will be gone so that they can be on alert for any suspicious activity. Give them a spare key so they can go to the house daily to make sure everything is OK and bring any mail or packages inside. Mail piling up is a dead giveaway that no one is home.

  1. Hold Mail and Deliveries

If you cannot have someone you trust stop by your home to check the mail every day, call the postal service and request a hold on your mail until you are back home. You should also consider holding any deliveries or regular subscription services you receive at home, like newspapers and magazines.

  1. Make It Look like Someone is Always Home

Keep all blinds and curtains closed when you are not home. Have your lights set on a timer or solar switch while you are away, to make it appear as if someone is always there. This could help to ward off any would-be invaders.

  1. Lock All Doors and Windows

This one is a given, but there are a few things to keep in mind. Make sure all your doors and windows have working locks and remember to remove all spare keys to your house or any keys sitting in locks throughout your home. This is important because someone could get into your house, steal these keys without you knowing, and then use the keys to gain access to your home again in the future. Also, it is important to remember to not run any extension cords through windows for your outdoor holiday lights. This prevents the window from closing properly, and burglars will see this as an easy entry point.

  1. Install a Home Security System

Whether you are home or away, a home security system can give you the peace of mind in knowing your home and valuables are secure.

 

Posted in: Protective Services and Investigations

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Holiday season in Retail

For retailers, the holiday season is the most important time of the year, as this is when most of their revenue is generated. Unfortunately, it also the time of year when theft increases.

A recently published report revealed the downside of holiday shopping, which included increased shrink, significantly impacting a retailers’ ability to see a healthy profit margin during the final quarter.

According to the 2016 retail holiday season global forecast, retailers are expected to experience both their heaviest sales volumes and their weakest performances as it relates to margin rates during Q4, due primarily to increased shrink and theft from both internal (employee theft and fraud) and external (shoplifting, organized retail crime) sources.

The report stated that in North America, the holiday season contributes roughly 34% of a retailers’ annual sales base but also incurred 37% of its annual shrink loss. Overall, shrink during the fourth quarter is about 15% higher than the rest of the year.

“This time of the year there are a variety of different things impacting brick-and-mortar stores. On one side of the fence, there is the traditional mindset that people think about Black Friday, the fourth quarter and the holiday season as being robust and beneficial for retailers when it’s actually somewhat the opposite in many cases,” retail loss prevention analyst and report author Ernie Deyle says.

There are a few things that retailers can do to prevent an increase in shrinkage. It all starts with a holiday plan (play book) that outlines the specific measures that need to be taken. It is important to make security a part of the overall plan. Although security is usually driven by the security department, loss prevention should be the responsibility of all store associates. The plan should be detailed and cover the extra measures that need to be put in place as well as detailed task lists. Most retailers will ask for additional guards or loss prevention officers. They also need to ensure their CCTV systems and other security devices are in working order. It is important to train staff in advance and conduct daily briefings, so staff members and security personnel are aware of their specific roles. Areas with increased risk of theft should be identified and turned into zones with increased customer engagement with staff. The task list can be divided into three categories such as opening, closing and during business hours.

The opening task list should contain elements like:

  • Checking merchandise for proper security (tags)
  • Ensuring the electronic article surveillance (EAS) gates are working for high traffic
  • Validate locked areas (merchandise cabinets) and perimeter openings
  • Validate that all PIN pads/payment devices are secure

During business hours, it is key to recognize suspicious behaviour and increased risk factors, such as:

  • People coming in with empty or large shopping bags
  • People taking merchandise into bathrooms
  • Heavy clothing and unusual attire
  • People with strollers or carts
  • PiIing stacks of merchandise
  • Overly friendly people asking question as a distraction tactic
  • People paying extra attention to the location, checking cameras
  • Moving merchandise from busy areas to more remote places in the store

The closing task list should contain elements like:

  • Conducting a thorough walk of the store
  • Checking fitting rooms, bathrooms and corners of the store
  • Validate locked areas and doors
  • Ensure that all pinpads / payment devices are secure

I surely hope that the holiday season will give the retailers good sales and a healthy margin with no incidents to speak of.

Posted in: Protective Services and Investigations

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