There’s nothing more frustrating and soul-destroying for any business owner than to see the results of your hard work disappear into the pockets of complete strangers.
Yet we know that’s the daily reality for many small business owners in the retail space.
That’s why your association is working actively with law enforcement agencies and governments across a number of states and territories to combat retail losses through theft and criminal activity.
A large part of the challenge has been to get policy makers to take seriously the impact of shop theft on retail business owners. Many business owners tell me that they believe it’s simply not worth their while to report minor theft, because the cost to them in terms of off-line time involved in reporting is greater than the price of stolen goods.
As well as making a complaint to the police, including lodging any necessary paperwork, there is the added time required to go back through surveillance footage and identify the time that a theft took place, and hope to capture an image of the guilty party.
Other businesses tell me that even the theft of very expensive items can be put in the “petty crime” category by law enforcement officials, leaving business owners wondering why they bothered pursuing the matter.
At the other end of the scale, we know there are organised crime groups that target retail on a large scale – often working with someone on the inside of an organisation to arrange for a door or roller shutter to be left unlocked on the night after a large delivery.
These are all frustrating and in many cases severely damaging to a business’s viability.
As I said above, the National Retail Association has been working for some years with governments and police in a number of states and territories to highlight the very serious nature of retail crime, and to try to find a more workable solution.
On the whole, we have found police to be very engaging and willing to listen to the NRA’s concerns, and to implement new community policing procedures which allow businesses and police to work together to solve retail crimes, and hopefully prevent them altogether.
So while it can be frustrating, I urge all members to report all retail theft – no matter how minor – to your local police. This ensures that there are up to date statistics on retail crime that truly reflect the real situation on the ground. In some cases, it also helps police to identify a pattern of organised crime behaviour early on.
I look forward to sharing more about our retail loss prevention activities with you in the near future, particularly as we move towards the busy Christmas and Boxing Day sales period (busy for retailers also means busy for retail criminals, sadly).
In the meantime, please contact us if you have any questions or suggestions about how your association can better engage with law enforcement to safeguard your business and ensure the results of your hard work aren’t taken off you.
Have a great week.
Dominique Lamb, CEO