For retailers of any size, shoplifting and organized retail crime (ORC) are big concerns. Keeping your products, employees, and stores secure is imperative to maintaining a safe, successful business. There are a variety of ways to discourage and prevent retail crime, but key security should be at the core of your retail crime prevention efforts.
Key security is the biggest determinant of how physically secure your retail locations are and the first step to deter theft. Shoplifting and robbery make up 88% of organized retail crime that has occured in 2020, with electronics and clothing making up the highest cases of merchandise stolen for the last four years. Limiting opportunities for theft to occur with strong key security practices can help keep your retail locations from contributing to those high numbers. Here are security measures you can take to deter retail crime.
High Security Locks
This may seem like an obvious solution to deterring shoplifting and ORC, but oftentimes retailers have multiple points of entry and unlocked back or side doors can be an ideal opportunity for thieves to get in and out with merchandise without being noticed. Installing high-quality locks and establishing key policies for employees to keep restricted or low-traffic entryways locked at all times can help eliminate security blunders that lead to theft.
There are many lock and key options available, so you’ll need to determine which locks and key control options are right for your business. Look for key providers that offer comprehensive key control options instead of individual hardware and key suppliers. With a more comprehensive approach, you can incorporate various key control methods to enhance your security, including restricted keys, innovative key cores, and key management software.
Avoiding Key Duplication
Duplicate keys can be one of the biggest security threats to a retailer combating organized retail crime. If your keys can be duplicated, you have very little peace of mind on whether your store access is limited to the people who are allowed to enter and keeping out people who aren’t.
In order to combat key duplication you’ll need to utilize restricted keys for your business. Restricted keys are not available on the open market and are unable to be duplicated without authorization from a business owner or key manager given to your key provider. This prevents employees from being able to duplicate keys and intentionally or unintentionally undermine your security. Restricted keys can also make it easier to track who has access to your retail locations, particularly if the keys are serialized and can be tracked with key management software.
In order to ensure that only authorized individuals have access to your retail locations, you’ll need to be able to track who has keys and what access points those keys open. This is where effective key management can make a big difference in your key security and retail crime prevention.
There are multiple methods of tracking your keys and who has access, and some methods are more efficient than others. This is particularly true for multi-site retailers with more employees, keys, and entry points to keep track of. For the most secure option, consider cloud-based real-time key tracking software that enables you to see who has access to which entry points around the clock and from anywhere with an internet connection. Not only does this enable you to complete key audits and manage employee turnover and changing access easily, thorough key management software also allows you to respond quickly and efficiently in the event of a keyed access security breach when you need to reference or provide information about who has access to a specific location or entry point.
Responding to a Security Breach
As any retailer knows, keyed access security breaches are inevitable. When they occur, response time can be a determining factor of loss prevention and mitigating your risk for repeat thefts. In order to respond efficiently, you’ll need to quickly change the locks and provide new keys to personnel with access to the affected entry point.
Changing out the locks can be a hassle depending on your lock and key system and the longer it takes you to get the locks changed, the higher the potential for initial or repeated retail crime to occur. With user-rekeyable locks, a business owner or key manager can change the locks themselves, without needing to remove the key core from the locking mechanism. User-rekeyable locks eliminate the need for help from a professional locksmith to change your locks and significantly cuts down on costs. After a breach has been addressed and locks have been changed, you’ll need to distribute new keys to personnel, which is simplified with good key management.
Maintaining Security in a Disaster
Depending on where your retail sites are located, you may need to put a plan in place in the event of a natural or social disasters that may impact your business. Disasters that can impact your business include extreme weather events like hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, or hail or local civil unrest. In the event of any disaster, your ability to respond quickly to secure your locations is one of the best ways to prevent merchandise loss. Having a disaster plan in place that includes effective key control measures can be the difference between maintaining security and protecting your business from loss and theft.
More Measures for Deterring Organized Retail Crime
Key security is the first step in the loss prevention puzzle, but there are more measures you can take to keep your retail locations safe and secure from shoplifting and larger robberies. While implementing many different deterrents and security measures can be time-consuming upon execution, preventing retail crime can save your business considerable amounts of money. In 2019, the average retailer lost over $700,000 per $1 billion in sales.
For more information on prevention methods to keep your business secure, including product placement, electronic article surveillance, video surveillance, gps tracking, and partnering with law enforcement and your competition, download our free ebook 8 Ways to Deter Organized Retail Crime.