Hints, Tips and Checklists.
At Tbaytel, security and safety go hand in hand. In this special section, we provide a series of helpful hints, tips and checklists to keep you, your family and your home safe wherever you are.
The business community has been suffering from an ever increasing amount of internal thefts. Many businesses have actually been forced to close as a result of internal theft. The types of thefts that are most commonly described are shrinkage, embezzlement and fraud.
- Shrinkage or Theft
Taking, consuming, removing or converting someone else's property for personal use. This can be as simple as the unauthorized consumption of food in a restaurant to the removal of products, cash or equipment from the retail or manufacturing sector. It also includes intellectual properties such as patent processes, computer programs and client information.
Taking or using money or property without the proper right or authority to do so, or intentionally making errors in bookkeeping practices to allocate funds for one's own use.
Deceit used for personal financial gain.
Ground Rules - Estabilishing Policies
All businesses can reduce the opportunity for these crimes to take place by taking a few simple steps. It is important that all businesses consider the establishment of the following:
- Written security guidelines
- Employee security policies
- Communications policies
- Staff training program
- Crisis management instruction
The establishment of well defined policies and procedures for the security of business property and the property of other employees is important. The introduction of an employee security policy also ensures that all employees are aware of the security guidelines in place.
- Be very specific about your company policies as they pertain to ordering, shipping or receiving of goods.
- Ensure there is a well detailed description of your employee purchase plan (if one exists), as to goods included, who may authorize, payment of funds, etc.
- During orientation or new employees, define terms ("theft" for example) and what the consequences are for breaching policy.
- All incidents should be investigated, documented, reported to police and follow-up with measures to prevent future problems.
Additional Theft Prevention
In addition to creating policies, there are a number of techniques that can be employed in the workplace to prevent or discourage thefts from taking place:
- ACCESS CONTROL - Have people sign in or out or use a card access system to control entry to high value areas.
- CLOSED CIRCUIT TV - Use of closed circuit TV can help discourage or catch people involved in both internal and external thefts.
- REGULAR INVENTORIES - Don't always do inventories at the same time each year, and make sure to do them regularly.
- Crisis management instruction
Now Hiring - Employee hiring practices
Internal theft problems revolve around the employees that you hire. Ultimately, the first step in reducing problems is to screen potential employees during the hiring process.
Although checking an applicant's record can be time consuming and frustrating, you should verify the information that was supplied. Check:
- Previous employers
- Determine length of employment
- Work habits (on time, lazy, go getter, etc.)
- Slow/quick learner re: equipment, etc.
- Guidance counsellor in your younger applicants
- Verify graduation or degrees at college and university
- Criminal record check
In addition to your own screening process, have a form signed by new employees that will act as a record of their understanding and agreement to comply with your policies.
Shop theft is the most common source of loss that a business faces, causing losses in the area of 6 million dollars a day across the country. Basically, shop theft is a theft that has taken place within a retail business. A person with the intent to steal, picks up an item, conceals and leaves the business without making any attempt to pay for the item.
How They Do It: Methods used for shop thefts
- Concealing items in their clothing
- Using shopping bags/boxes from other stores
- Using purses/pockets
- Using booster boxes
- Price switching
- Concealing goods in umbrellas
- Hiding between legs, "crotching"
- Working in teams
Be Aware: Things to Watch For
- Be aware of someone who is looking more at other people than shopping, and people who keep returning to the same area of the store or are just hanging around.
- Shoplifters usually look and move side to side several times
- They handle things a lot without actually looking at the item, and use their hands and upper body to conceal the item itself
- They look nervous and may be sweating
- Be suspicious of individuals wearing clothing out of season.
- Hands do the taking, Eyes do the stealing
Guidelines to Deter Shop Theft
- The manager or owner of the business must actively advertise against shop theft using signs to reinforce the fact that shoplifters will be prosecuted
- Establish permanent policies concerning dressing rooms to limit the number of garments or articles that go in and to ensure the same number come out, checked by staff
- Maintain at least a minimal staff that does not leave any particular area of business unattended
- Have a firm refund policy and make sure all customers are aware of it at the time of purchase. All customers should get receipts to make it easier to confirm a purchase if there is a dispute at the time
- Establish a security or alert code with the use of a simple phrase to alert all staff members to a potential theft or just a suspicious customer
- Consider an incentive program. (This requires the complete participation of all the staff.)
The Employee's Part
- A sales person who is alert and attentive is the best deterrent to shop theft because customers want service and thieves don't
- Greet every customer that enters the store with eye to eye contact
- Watch for customers who spend a lot of time in an area, not really looking at anything specific
- If a group appears as though they are attempting to distract staff, have a staff member move to where they can better observe the whole area
- Maintain neat displays to let you know if anything is missing
- Avoid tall displays in order to prevent blind spots that would block spot lines
- If theft occurs more often in one particular area, rearrange the display, install overhead mirrors or use a different type of display
- Have cash registers near the front of the entrance/exit to allow staff to observe all the customers as they leave the store
- Practice cross hangering to deter "grab and run" theft
- Display easily stolen small items close to the cash register
- High priced items should be arranged so they are in better view of the cash register
- Secure the stockrooms; have them locked or have a bell or buzzer system installed so you are alerted to someone entering the stockroom(s)
- Empty boxes and cartons should not be left in the selling area