Inside Retail Services News

Navigating Public Safety & Retail Crime

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WR is committed to supporting Washington State’s retailers, including our members and the industry as a whole. With the swell of retail thefts and the growing persistence of organized retail crime, WR stands ready to provide retailers with tools to protect their employees and customers while helping safeguard their place of business.

WR has been steadfast in its work to improve our state’s laws to ensure protections for employees and employers alike. While laws can be a deterrent, they are not guaranteed to ward off all crime in retail businesses. Our Guide to Navigating Public Safety & Retail Crime is an essential resource to help retailers be strategic in their approach to thefts and organized retail crime, including specific recommendations for retailers to create their own strategies. The four categories of guidance include content on how to prepare, prevent, protect, and what retailers can do post-crime in the aftermath of a retail crime event.

In this issue of Inside Retail Services, we offer insights on how retailers can prepare by recognizing the signs that their business is being surveilled for a potential retail crime, which include:

  • Loitering and actively observing the business’s opening and closing methods and procedures
  • “Accidentally” opened emergency exits
  • Employee-only or unauthorized areas are entered into “mistakenly”
  • Employees report missing keys or access cards
  • Removal of keys for security devices, pins, or rings disappear
  • People taking photos or videos of the business security cameras or devices
  • Unusual numbers of license plates are missing, covered up, or are from out-of-state
  • Patrons wearing extremely oversized or padded clothing to mask their identity
  • Large bags, totes, or backpacks that can conceal stolen items are brought into the store
  • Employees are approached about staffing and security
  • Heavy/oversized coats worn in warm months
  • Groups of stopped or idling vehicles in front of entry and exit areas
  • Crowds suddenly formed outside of the business
  • Employees report finding doors propped open
  • Posts on social media discussing or encouraging coordinated criminal activity

Download the guide and additional free resources from our retail crime and public safety resources page here.

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