A sudden spike in the number of shoplifting incidents in Harrogate has led to police officers saying that retailers need to do more to improve security in the area. The number of offences has increased by over 100 in just seven months, and it is clear that action needs to be taken.
Harrogate has risen to be one of the worst areas in North Yorkshire for shoplifting. Low Harrogate - where the town centre is located - was the most badly hit area, followed closely by High Harrogate. The rise in crime is having a serious effect on local businesses, and the police are of the opinion that the solution lies in improving retail security.
North Yorkshire Police’s county commander Superintendent Mike Walker said in a report to Harrogate's Overview and Scrutiny Committee that "there's an onus on the retailers" to deal with shoplifting, and part of that involves improving their security.
"Shops have to do a lot to stop shoplifting," he added. "I understand that some retailers don't have security which is their prerogative... [security] does deter shoplifters. They will target easy shops where they know it's easy to steal items."
Superintendent Walker also said that the police would work with Harrogate shop owners, particularly looking at store design, in order to prevent this crime. However, he was quick to point out that the police had to prioritise different crimes, and shoplifting was not top of that list.
Some of the options highlighted by the police as crime-prevention tactics included barring customers from the store and placing valuable items away from the doors. While cheap, these methods are no match for talented shoplifters. Barring somebody requires you to have caught them shoplifting - or at least acting suspicious - in the first place.
A more long-term solution might me to invest in a proper security system.SECOM can provide you with high-quality CCTV for your business, which combines with an alarm system so you will be immediately aware if anyone tries to take anything from your store. This is just one way retailers can take on the responsibility for preventing shoplifting in an effective way.
At SECOM, we have plenty of experience providing these solutions to high-street retailers. We have worked with a number of businesses - including Boots, Mothercare and Carphone Warehouse - to help them cut down on shoplifting and protect their goods and profits from the effects of criminals.