While retail crime is an issue for companies of all shapes and sizes, it is particularly damaging to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). When a business is just starting out or struggling to turn a profit, being hit by a crime can be absolutely devastating, which is why it is especially unfortunate that many firms do not feel they can trust the justice system anymore.
This is particularly evident in Ireland, where a recent survey from the Irish SME Association (ISME) has revealed that more than a third of businesses (36 per cent) have been the victim of a crime in the past year. The 'National Crime Survey 2015' found that when retail businesses where looked at on their own, this figure jumped to a shocking 50 per cent.
What's more, the vast majority (84 per cent) of these SMEs affected by crime saw it occur more than once. This has led to an environment in which companies no longer trust the police or the justice system to protect them from shoplifting, ramraiding and other such behaviours.
"This survey clearly shows that there is a total lack of faith in the justice system," said Mark Fielding, CEO of ISME. He pointed out that a staggering 98 per cent of businesses feel that the police are ineffective at dealing with crime, while 93 per cent were not confident that any perpetrators would be caught.
All of this adds up to a situation in which 20 per cent of SMEs don't even bother reporting crimes to the police. Increasingly, it is becoming obvious that prevention is the best option when it comes to tackling theft.
While CCTV and other security systems were once thought of as non-essential, they are now an integral part of many retail businesses. This is in part due to how much more effective they are now, allowing for immediate action to be taken to catch criminals in the act.
For example, weight sensors can now be added to shelves containing high-value items. If more than one of these is taken off at a time, an alert can be sent to anybody working security that day, enabling them to check to see if this is a normal customer making a large purchase or the action of a shoplifter.
With video analytics software, your CCTV cameras can also be programmed to immediately focus on the shelf if this alert gets sent out, giving you an immediately accessible video record of the incident so you can be doubly aware of what is going on in your store.
These are just some of the many new features of retail security that can enable businesses to take their store's safety into their own hands. Firms disillusioned with the justice system should look into the variety of retail security systems SECOM offers.