Theft is a massive problem for the retail industry. The National Retail Foundation found a 26.5% increase in retail crimes in 2021 while Target lost $400 Million due to ‘inventory shrink’ in 2022 — largely due to organized retail crime. How can retail stores minimize their risk and improve their ability to counter these spikes?
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive into the ins and outs of anti-theft devices for retail stores, what devices you need for your retail interior & exterior, and a few examples of reinforced storefronts for violent crime prevention.
- What are Anti-Theft Devices for Retail Stores?
- Must-Have Anti-Theft Retail Store Security Equipment
- 3 Examples of Reinforced Storefronts for Anti-Smash & Grab and Retail Theft Prevention
What are Anti-Theft Devices for Retail Stores?
Anti-theft devices for retail stores refer to any gadget or piece of equipment used to protect retail stores from theft. The term is all-encompassing, including alarm systems, physical protection, and even smart inventory management tools.
Whatever the method, anti-theft devices are absolutely essential for retail storefronts. Without the use of these devices, retailers leave themselves vulnerable to theft, and susceptible to violence that springs from robbery.
Must-Have Anti-Theft Retail Store Security Equipment and Loss Prevention Products
For the purposes of this blog, anti-theft equipment for retail stores can be separated into two distinct categories: interior and exterior protection. Both are essential, and play very different roles in theft prevention.
Interior Theft Protection: Preventing Indoor Theft & Shoplifting
Storefront thieves can strike across a wide spectrum of violence & severity. Common shoplifters may enter your storefront, grab a few quick items, and then leave without causing a stir. More organized groups may come armed, smashing into display cases and robbing cash registers to horrific effect for customers and employees alike.
Interior theft protection encompasses security against all of these means. This umbrella term includes inventory tracking software, indoor surveillance systems, covert duress alarm systems, and reinforced smash & grab protection.
Inventory Tracking Software
Stores with large inventories may struggle to even realize theft has occurred. Without proper tracking, common shoplifters can accumulate items over the course of months until stores notice the damage to their inventory and revenue.
Inventory tracking software automates inventory management and ensures even smaller instances of theft are tracked & investigated. Using either asset tracking tags or automated cash registers, inventory tracking software streamlines processes for storefronts and helps track when & where theft occurs.
24/7 Surveillance Systems
Surveillance systems monitor stores for any & all kinds of criminal activities. By placing cameras in key areas of your store (entrances, storage rooms, etc.), storefronts can gain a consistent, holistic view of all potential criminal activity around the clock.
Used in tandem with inventory tracking software, surveillance systems can detect who shoplifted in instances of smaller theft — while providing key evidence to law enforcement for more aggressive robberies and overnight break-ins.
Loss Prevention Solutions
The cameras used in surveillance systems also fall under a broader umbrella of loss prevention products — devices designed specifically to minimize retail theft and shrinkage. Loss prevention products may refer to larger solutions such as surveillance systems, alongside product-level devices to minimize theft.
Additional loss prevention products include anti-sweep hooks, security tags, EAS tags, security mirrors, tethers/locking straps, and other devices that register when a piece of merchandise leaves a store.
Silent Duress Alarms
Above all else, the security of staff & customers during a robbery is of the utmost importance. In the face of armed robbery and violent assault, actively calling law enforcement can put patrons into harm’s way.
Silent duress alarms allow staff to alert the police without compromising their safety or escalating a situation. Placed under store counters, these covert buttons send a message to local law enforcement without setting off store alarms – keeping everybody calm and allowing police officers to handle the situation like experts.
Reinforced Smash & Grab Protection
If intruders do make it inside a store, protecting inventory in the midst of robbery is essential. Typical glass display cases are prone to being shattered with any blunt force, and in-turn provide burglars easy access to displayed inventory.
Protect your glass display cases with CaseShield, a new DefenseLite product, fully customizable, retrofit solution for display cases in lieu of smash & grab crime. Consisting of polycarbonate, CaseShield is 250x stronger than existing glass, creating a clear “shield” on top of your retail case to protect it from hammers, rocks, and other blunt attacks. CaseShield both protects your inventory and slows down burglars — allowing law enforcement more time to arrive via silent duress alarms.
Preventing Smash & Grab Crimes with Exterior Theft Protection
During times of pandemic and civil unrest, the prevalence of retail smash and grab events escalate at alarming rates. A vast majority of these crimes start at a storefront’s glass windows and doors where security is most vulnerable. Not only can these events result in stolen merchandise on display, but amid large riots and mass looting, the toll can be even more devastating.
Exterior theft protection serves as a means to repel exterior smash & grab crime. Once installed, reinforced storefronts can withstand blows from rocks, baseball bats, hammers, and a variety of other means of blunt force. Exterior storefront protection can come in a variety of forms — from window film to customized, clear protection shields.
3 Examples of Reinforced Storefronts for Anti-Smash & Grab and Retail Theft Prevention
As America’s #1 commercial window film installer, Window Film Depot understands how to provide reinforced storefronts custom-tailored to a storefront’s needs. Below are three examples of how reinforced storefronts have helped with retail theft prevention.
Mobile Communications Store
A popular mobile communications store based in Seattle, Washington required a way to prevent high-occurrence smash and grab events. Because typical safety and security film deemed inadequate based on sledgehammer attack methods of local perpetrators, the store needed a stronger solution that would work to keep assailants from breaching the storefront and stealing inventory.
The requirement called for DefenseLite Pro Series, a custom made clear shield that was designed to fit the existing storefront window doors. Unlike most security window films that prevent glass shattering and delay entry, DefenseLite stopped intruders dead in their tracks by preventing breakage altogether. Not only did the custom-designed DefenseLite solution prevent forced entry attacks, but our professional installation maintained a clean storefront appearance.
See more information about the case study.
Outdoor Clothing Retailer
A vulnerably-located outdoor clothing retailer store based in Minneapolis, Minnesota needed an aesthetically pleasing anti-smash and grab solution that maintained the store’s open design while having as little impact on the storefront’s appearance as possible.
After determining the threat levels and budget for the necessary security upgrades, Window Film Depot recommended DefenseLite for an effective theft prevention solution. Because intruders were capable of using heavy blunt force objects and high-force projectiles to gain access, DefenseLite would level-up the outlet’s security to its new desired standards.
In just two days, Window Film Depot installed a custom, powder-coated DefenseLite trim package that ensured the new retrofit blended seamlessly into the storefront design. Not only was the finished product tastefully integrated, but it provided the necessary prevention against forced entry and retail theft.
See more information about the case study.
A nationwide network of retail warehouse stores demanded a security solution for a number of reasons. Not only were smash and grab attacks on stores a retail theft problem, but they also presented a severe safety issue for store employees stocking shelves during the night shift.
Security window film was initially tested and later approved to help mitigate unwarranted access into the stores after hours. Window Film Depot mobilized to all 905 stores and installed 3M 8 millimeter security film with Dow 995 anchoring caulk – all after hours in order to reduce any impact to store operations.
Prepare Your Retail Store With Anti-Theft Protection With Window Film Depot
As retail theft continues to rise, storefronts need to protect themselves. Combining interior anti-theft devices — such as inventory tracking software, 24/7 surveillance systems, and silent duress alarms — and exterior, reinforced storefronts can minimize your risk.
Looking to reinforce your storefront? We’re the experts in security window film installation, with experience across diverse properties to meet your storefront’s unique needs. Contact us today and begin your process of anti-theft protection.