How to Find a Safer Store Amid Rising Retail Theft

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The rising wave of Organized Retail Crime (ORC) is forcing major retailers like Target, Nike, and Walmart to grapple with escalating theft challenges. As a shopper, it’s hard to know what you can do to help stop the growth of retail theft. But there are a few things stores can do.

Here are five things to watch for if you’re looking for a store that may be less likely to entice ORC operators.

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Shoplifters will be prosecuted sign stock photo

Image: Wirestock

5 things to look for in a safer store

1. How does the store engage with customers?

1. How does the store engage with customers?

  • Look for stores that greet shoppers warmly, ask about your needs, and show interest without intruding.
  • Retailers that engage with customers offer better customer service while discouraging potential thieves. They make sure thieves feel watched and remembered.

2. Do they use safer hiring practices?

  • Learning the ins and outs of a store’s hiring policies may be tricky. However, with many stores gearing up for the busy holiday seasons, be cautious about stores that may hire temporary employees with no vested interest.
  • Look for help-wanted ads that say a company uses background checks for added security.

3. Watch how stores optimize the layout.

  • Store layouts should maximize visibility between staff and customers. Watch out for tall displays that obstruct views.
  • Look for security mirrors that monitor blind spots, bright lighting, and avoid dark corners where bad actors can lurk.

4. Look for loss prevention technology.

  • Are modern tools like alarm tags, door sensors, and video analytics in use?
  • Does the store use a security system that can help track behavior patterns and alert staff to suspicious activities?
  • Are surveillance tags attached to merchandise? These tags can deter shoplifting by triggering alarms if merchandise is removed without deactivation.

5. Look for shoplifting deterrent measures.

  • The store should display prosecution warning signs to remind potential thieves of the legal consequences.
  • More stores are protecting commonly stolen items behind licking cabinets.
  • A security guard or receipt checker at entrance and exit points helps discourage theft.

By looking out for these strategies, you have a better chance of choosing retailers that are committed to enhancing security, reducing theft, and creating a safer shopping environment for customers and employees.

Rebecca Edwards
Written by
Rebecca Edwards
Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past decade. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month poring over crime and safety reports and spotting trends. Her expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her expert advice and analysis in places like NPR, TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, HGTV, MSN, Reader's Digest, Real Simple, and an ever-growing library of podcast, radio and TV clips in the US and abroad.

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