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The Rise of Shoplifting and How You Can Prevent it

The Rise of Shoplifting and How You Can Prevent it

We’ve all been affected by the cost of living crisis in one way or another. And although the official rate of inflation (known as the CPI – consumer price index) may have fallen to 3.9% in November 2023 – down from 10.7% 12 months earlier – this only includes things like groceries, fuel and clothing.

When you include housing costs and strip out items with volatile prices, you get a more accurate picture of how costs are rising for the average household, and in November 2023 this figure stood at 5.2%.

In other words, many households are still struggling with prices that are continuing to rise faster than we’ve been used to for some considerable time.

The Rise of Shoplifting and How You Can Prevent it

The effects of the cost of living crisis on the retail industry

As people struggle to make ends meet, one unfortunate knock-on effect has been what has been described as an epidemic of shoplifting. ONS data reported in October 2023 shows a staggering increase of 25% compared to the previous year, with 365,164 offences being recorded in the 12 months up to June 2023.

For shopkeepers and owners, this naturally represents a significant problem – but the official figures seem to be just the tip of the iceberg. For instance, the Managing Director of the Co-op supermarket chain said that the business had seen over 175,000 instances of shoplifting and anti-social behaviour in the first six months of 2023 at a cost of some £33 million. The Co-op’s MD also said that there was a lack of an adequate response from the police. 

With this in mind, it’s inevitable that individual retailers are going to have to do more to protect their businesses from the existential threat that shoplifters are now presenting.

How to protect your retail business from shoplifters

Thankfully, there are a number of ways that you can increase the levels of security within a store without necessarily having to employ people specifically to do the job. 


In-store CCTV cameras are a cost-effective and generally successful means of discouraging potential shoplifters from targeting your business. After all, why would they when they must know there’s a good chance of them being identified in the act? If they should still go ahead regardless, the images you record could be used to both enable identification of the perpetrator and secure a prosecution.

It’s worth getting a professional security expert in so that your cameras can be located in the best places to provide comprehensive coverage of as much of your store as possible. At least make sure that all your most valuable stock is properly covered.

Here at Scutum South East, we can offer retailers of all sizes a range of affordable CCTV security solutions, while our expert installers can also ensure your cameras are placed in the most effective possible place. We can also help you so that you’re following all legal requirements when using them – you can find out more about this now by reading our earlier blog on the subject.

Electronic tagging

As with CCTV cameras, electronic tagging is an effective way of letting potential thieves know that you’re taking protecting your store and stock seriously. They should be aware that tagging is being used as the system needs prominent readers at the store entrance so that they can identify when an item is being removed illegally.

Staff training

We said earlier that you shouldn’t need to employ extra people to keep your goods secure, but it might be worth keeping someone on the door – especially in busier periods – to greet customers as they enter. They might also need to politely encourage those whose appearance may be hidden to remove hats and lower hoods so that the cameras can do their job – as long as they are just coming in to shop, they shouldn’t have any objection. 

You also need to train your staff in how to keep a general eye on the store and approach those who might be behaving in a suspicious manner so that they know you’re on top of what’s happening without resorting to being accusatory or in any way aggressive.           

If you’d like to up the security at your store, why not get in touch with the expert team at Scutum South East? Ask for a free site visit so that you can be sure that you’re getting advice from someone who has seen and understands your store’s layout and security needs, together with a free quote so that you can also make sure you’re getting good value.


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About Scutum South East

Scutum South East is a leading expert in fire safety and security solutions for businesses and organisations located across South East England, including London and Surrey.

From fire alarms, fire extinguishers and fire risk assessments to access control, CCTV and intruder alarm systems – and a lot more besides – we offer a comprehensive range of products and services designed to keep you, your business and your staff and visitors safe.

With decades of industry experience to call on, we’re proud to hold accreditations from leading trade associations and bodies such as British Approvals for Fire Equipment (BAFE), the British Fire Consortium, the Fire Industry Association (FIA) and Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB).

If you’d like to find out more about Scutum South East, get in touch with our friendly team or explore our products and services on our site.