Global pandemic, civil unrest and generally heightened anxiety among people have triggered significant increases in loss, damage and incidents on retail properties. The pressure is on for Loss Prevention (LP) professionals to deliver safety under particularly challenging conditions.
Here’s a quick look at prevailing conditions and some ideas for LP to combat these challenges.
Defuse tensions early to avoid altercations – Tensions are running exceptionally high due to the pandemic, extended lock-downs and general anxiety over health and economics. This has resulted in a growing number of altercations in retail and other establishments. According to D&D Daily, fatalities and violent incidents in retail were up 40% in the last 5 years.
LP professionals need to be part of the discussion when it comes to developing strategies to reduce violence and confrontations on retail properties. Leverage automated occupancy control solutions to ease frustration and complaints against employees who would otherwise be in charge of enforcing occupancy limits. Other strategies may include providing interactive technologies with entertaining or uplifting messages to reduce tensions and perceived wait times. Training for employees can also help defuse tensions early in a discussion.
Include health protocols in your definition of “safe stores” – Prior to the pandemic, going grocery shopping was not considered a “high risk” activity. Yet, in a 2020 survey, two-thirds of consumers felt unsafe in retail stores. Global pandemic has drastically changed perceived safety threats. LP professionals must expand their purview to incorporate health and safety into their repertoire of physical security considerations. This calls for LP to be actively involved in developing protocols, communications and operations designed to reduce disease transmission.
Prepare for reverse logistics – As a greater percentage of transactions go online, returns and exchanges are on the rise, presenting a greater risk of shrink due to administrative errors. LP should leverage AI and machine learning to pinpoint patterns of activities where shrink is the highest. Machine learning can effectively identify key factors associated with shrink – from type of product, to time of day or date, or individuals who may be committing fraud.
Identify support resources – With many cities and local governments defunding their local police departments, loss prevention is left without their normal support from outside the organization. It’s incumbent on LP professionals to understand local law enforcement availability and to identify resources and/or technologies to reduce incidents before they occur. Technologies can help LP deter unwanted behaviors and individuals from coming on the property. Using unified security solutions, perimeter security solutions and/or access control or even covert cameras, LP professionals can help prevent some losses before they ever occur.
Don’t hesitate to call in the technology experts to help you leverage technology to advance your LP game. Explore Telaid’s physical security solutions.