Small business owners faced unprecedented challenges during the pandemic and are now facing increasing threats from their old foes of shoplifting at unprecedented rates. Large chains such as Walmart, CVS and Walgreens are closing stores in areas with high store turnover rates. Small businesses cannot cope with large losses due to shoplifting. Teens are herding and threatening gangs that, when captured or confronted, turn individuals and parents hostile. What should small businesses do?
A new survey found that up to 89% of small business owners are experiencing an increase in shoplifting. Additionally, a new report from Business.org found that 54% of the small business owners say shoplifting increases during the peak season and summer.
For many small businesses, the problem of shoplifting is becoming not only a cost loss issue, but also an employee safety concern.
Kylie Raper, CEO of the Association of Retailers, said members have made the shoplifting dilemma a top priority for Congress in 2022. Organized retail crime (ORC) refers to professional shoplifting and other thefts that occur in retail stores.
In a recent survey by the Retail Industry Leaders Association and the Buy Safe America Coalition, 86.2% of retailers surveyed said an “ORC subject” had verbally threatened an employee, and 75.9% said an ORC subject had verbally threatened an employee. 41% said they physically assaulted an employee, and 41% said ORC subjects used weapons to harm their peers.
“For small businesses, profit margins are very small and after nearly two years of sluggish sales due to the pandemic, they cannot afford to absorb the costs associated with retail crime. I can’t afford to.”
What should small business owners do? Most are equipped with video cameras, but shoplifters find blind spots. Some are watching, but others are afraid to confront individuals for fear of intimidation. Some companies are even live-streaming videos from stores online and posting suspected shoplifters on social media. It’s not ideal, but it’s what small business owners should do. For minor shoplifting incidents, police recommend filing a report online or not visiting. Instead of taking responsibility, parents repeatedly defend their children and threaten the shopkeeper. The problem is growing with no end in sight. Social pressure is a tool, not a solution.
In May, Nevada Fine Arts posted a security camera image of two alleged thieves on its Facebook page. A growing number of other companies have also reported being hit in the past year.
Small business owners may have marginal profit margins, and repeated thefts can force them to decide whether to stay in business.
“As the owner of this small private business, it’s very frustrating when a theft happens,” Dixon said. “I run the store with one part-time employee and my investors are my family. Any losses that occur are out of our pocket. Even with coverage it’s not worth the premium increase.
Shoplifting costs businesses across the country more than $45 billion a year, according to the National Shoplifting Prevention Association, a national organization dedicated to the problem of shoplifting. The group posted on its site that shoplifting was still a problem despite the companies installing surveillance cameras.
According to the association, “Despite all these advances in crime prevention, shoplifters are only caught 1 in 49 thefts, and only 50% of those caught are handed over to the police.” It says. “This is partly due to the fact that retailers, law enforcement and courts are moving away from apprehending and prosecuting shoplifters as a way of coping with the cost, time concerns and increased liability. Problems and other issues mean that the vast majority of shoplifting incidents go unrecognized, unreported, unresolved, and perpetuate the problem.”
The association said one in 11 shoplifters, most of them adults. 75 percent, in fact. Shoplifters don’t always steal because of greed or poverty.
The group said the crime was “about people grappling with personal conflicts and needs.” Depression and impulse control disorders may be contributing factors.
Somf small business uses social media to fight back against shoplifters. Some local businesses do so, but only as a last resort in cases of suspected recidivism.
If Pink Coconut Boutique catches your theft, we will post a photo of you on Facebook. This is a tactic they have always used and it seems to work well.
Store manager Debbie Hamm recently posted a photo of the suspected shoplifter on her corporate page. She asked her 1.1 million Facebook followers to help identify the suspect.
And less than 24 hours later, 25-year-old Christian Tatum was identified.
“Pink Coconuts kept the prices low, so the fans were very upset,” Ham said in an interview on Fox 13 about using social media to help identify suspected shoplifters. rice field.
This is not the first time the store has taken such an initiative. They can take advantage of this practice to keep prices low.
Police declined to comment on the matter. They only said it was a Facebook post that identified Tatum.
Small businesses must remain diligent, but if this trend continues, many small businesses will just follow CVS, Walgreens, and other mass retailers out of business. The result is more abandoned buildings and more plague in the long run.
Support small businesses and work together positively to reduce crime in small businesses and neighborhoods.