Retail crime costs Australians a staggering amount each year. The National Retail Association puts the cost at $9 billion per year and this is with just a fifth of the crimes reported. To recoup these losses, retailers are forced to increase prices and that affects everyone and increases Australia’s inflation woes. 

Preventing retail theft is challenging. Coles reports that it has suffered a 20% increase in thefts from supermarkets and Woolworths says that it is losing $30,000 per month per store in Canberra alone. Retailers across every sector are looking for ways to minimise losses. 

Stopping retail crime requires a strategic approach that combines deterrents and detection systems working together. That requires a unified platform that gives security teams a single source of information from which they can make decisions and act. A unified platform integrates different data sources such as point-of-sale exceptions and video surveillance, so security teams quickly identify flagged transactions and other suspicious activity. 

Presenting data through a single view dashboard enables loss prevention experts to quickly access and correlate video footage to incidents so they can respond faster. For example, suspicious refund transactions, where thieves steal an item and then try to return it for a refund, can be flagged for investigation. Or they can correlate the number of people entering a store with the number of transactions to determine if people are entering and leaving without purchasing. This can be an indicator that a coordinated group is in the store. 

Police have identified organised gangs that routinely steal from retailers. But, these criminals shift their operating models as retailers improve their security posture. This means retailers need a platform that is flexible and can integrate new components as they continue to try and stay ahead of shoplifting criminal syndicates. Legacy store security systems can be challenging to augment with newer cameras that offer higher resolutions and superior zoom capabilities as well as other emerging loss detection tools.

A retail security system with an open architecture allows you to easily add new tools and capabilities so retailers are prepared for future security risks. With shoplifting gangs often working across many locations, the ability to correlate data from multiple locations is critical. Cloud-based and hybrid retail security systems can unlock valuable intelligence that would otherwise be siloed at a single location. 

When the data from retail security systems is centralised into a unified retail security platform it becomes detect patterns across multiple locations. For example, several stores may report a discrepancy between the number of people in a store and completed transactions. Using video footage, it is possible to identify people who are not buying anything and correlate their presence with stock losses. 

Automatic licence plate recognition tools can be used to ensure customers using click and collect services with kerbside pickup are correctly identified. As well as minimising the risk of a thief taking an order it ensures the right order is delivered to the right customer. The same technology can be used at distribution centres to ensure orders are collected by the right driver and that unauthorised parties are detected.

Retail stock losses are a significant issue for all retailers. Theft adds to the cost of everything we buy – which is especially challenging in Australia’s current economic climate. By addressing retail theft through a unified retail security platform, retailers can reduce losses and support law enforcement in catching organised criminal syndicates and deterring opportunistic theft. 

George Moawad is country manager for Australia and New Zealand at Genetec.